July 31, 2019

Senators Hirono, Rounds Introduce Legislation to Prepare Veterans for Professional License and Certification Exams

WASHINGTON, D.C. –This week, Senators Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawaii) and Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) introduced the GI Bill Access to Career Credentials Act, which would allow the GI Bill to cover the cost of approved preparatory courses for professional and career license and certification exams. U.S. Representatives Gregorio Sablan (D-CNMI-AL) and Jim Banks (R-Ind.) introduced companion legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives.

“Veterans depend on GI Bill benefits to pursue their educational and career goals, and the cost of preparing for professional license and certification exams should not stand between them and success,” Senator Hirono said. “Our bill would help veterans pay for preparatory courses so they can succeed on those exams and pursue opportunities in high-demand careers while achieving their professional goals.”

“Our legislation will make sure preparatory courses that can help veterans pass their exams are also reimbursable under the Post-9/11 GI Bill,” Senator Rounds said. “This will help prepare veterans for in-demand jobs such as in the healthcare, engineering and technology fields. Our veterans have sacrificed so much, and it is our duty to do all we can to make sure they’re prepared when they enter civilian life. This is one more way for us to say thank you to these men and women, while also helping them to achieve success after they have served our country.” 

Last Congress, Senators Hirono and Rounds introduced the Veterans To Enhance Studies Through (TEST) Accessibility Act, which improved the GI Bill educational benefit by pro-rating reimbursements for the cost of professional license and certification exams – reimbursing veterans based on an exam’s actual cost, rather than charging them a full month’s benefit. The legislation was included in the Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2017, which was signed into law in August 2017. Since then, more than 5,700 GI Bill students, including 79 students in Hawaii, have used their benefit to pay for license and certification exam fees.

However, the GI Bill does not cover expenses incurred for preparatory courses to help veterans pass licensing and certification exams. Under the GI Bill Access to Career Credentials Act, veterans could use their benefit to pay for approved courses that prepare them for those exams. By covering these courses, veterans would have improved access to the resources and support they need to enter in-demand careers in health care, teaching, technology, and other fields that require government-recognized licenses and certifications. 

The GI Bill Access to Career Credentials Act has been endorsed by Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), National Guard Association of the United States (NGAUS), Enlisted Association of the National Guard of the United States (EANGUS), American Veterans (AMVETS), Reserve Officers Association (ROA), Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA), National Military Family Association (NMFA), Association of the United States Army, Military Order of the Purple Heart, and Fleet Reserve Association (FRA).

The full text of the legislation is available here.

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