Rounds bill would ease pursuit of career training programs for veterans

Legislation introduced by U.S. Sen. Mike Rounds (R-SD) on Monday would improve veterans’ eligibility for reimbursement for career training programs under the Post-9/11 GI Bill in order to help improve their job opportunities after military service.

The Veterans To Enhance Studies Through (TEST) Accessibility Act would address a provision of the Post-9/11 GI Bill that requires veterans to use a full month of benefits eligibility in order to receive reimbursement for licensing, certification and national tests required to enter career fields like firefighting, law enforcement or medical technician.

Veterans would be reimbursed for the cost of an approved test under Rounds’ bill. Remaining benefits eligibility for the affected month would then be prorated and applied to tuition and other educational expenses in the future.

“Our veterans have made incredible sacrifices for our country, and they should be able to fully use the benefits they’ve been promised when they enter into civilian life,” Rounds, a member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, said. “Our bill will make sure vets aren’t forced to exhaust a full month of GI bill benefits for a low-cost test or certification in order to pursue a successful career in a competitive job market.”

Rounds introduced the Senate bill with U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI). U.S. Reps. Susan Brooks (R-IN) and Kathleen Rice (D-NY) introduced companion legislation in the House. Both the American Legion and the Association of the United States Navy have come out in favor of the legislation.

“Last year, over 6,000 Hawaii students pursued their educational goals through the Post-9/11 GI Bill and many want to enter high-demand science, technology, engineering and math careers which often require paying for various tests, professional licenses and other credentials,” Hirono said.

“As a cosponsor of the law creating the Post-9/11 GI Bill, I am proud to join Sen. Rounds in introducing this common sense bill to improve the way it reimburses these expenses for current and future generations of veterans and their families,” she added.