House committee passes Barr’s bill to improve STEM scholarship access for student veterans

Rep. Andy Barr

The U.S. House Veterans’ Affairs Committee on May 8 unanimously approved a bipartisan bill sponsored by U.S. Rep. Andy Barr (R-KY) that would reduce the credit hour requirement for the Edith Nourse Rogers STEM Scholarship program of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

“I am thankful to my colleagues on the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee for joining me in this effort to provide our veterans with the tools they need to be successful in their transition to civilian life after serving in the Armed Forces,” Rep. Barr said on Tuesday.

Rep. Barr on April 10 introduced H.R. 2196 with lead cosponsor U.S. Rep. Mike Levin (D-CA) to ensure that student veterans could access the STEM scholarship program, which was enacted as part of the Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2017, also known as the Forever GI Bill.

If enacted into law, H.R. 2196 would ensure that student veterans enrolled in a STEM degree program can fully utilize their educational benefits by decreasing the scholarship eligibility from the current 128 credit semester hours to 120 credit semester hours.

“Removing arbitrary credit hour requirements for student veterans enrolled in STEM programs and giving them more flexibility to use their Forever GI Bill benefits will better allow our veterans to take advantage of the education benefits they are owed,” said Rep. Barr.

H.R. 2196, which last week passed the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee along with 17 other bills, now heads to the full House for action.