Earlier today, I had the great privilege of joining the President and First Lady -- along with an amazing 10,000 soldiers, military families, and veterans -- at an extraordinary event in Fort Stewart, Georgia, home to the Army’s famed 3rd Infantry Division.
The President and First Lady traveled to Fort Stewart to meet with soldiers and families -- and to sign an Executive Order (EO) that will positively impact the educational benefits and opportunities for our nation’s heroes and their families -- for a long time to come.
We know from travels throughout the country -- and through feedback from veterans, our troops and their families – that education is a big deal. Opportunities provided through educational programs such as the Post 9/11 GI Bill open doors.
And I know that on a personal level. Like many servicemembers, I have used the benefits of the Post- 9/11 GI Bill to further my education -- and that of my children.
At Fort Stewart, the President renewed his commitment to fully fund the post-9/11 GI Bill. With that bill -- and the Tuition Assistance program -- more than 550,000 veterans and 325,000 service members pursued education last year. Additionally, nearly 38,000 military spouses used their Military Spouse Career Advancement Account (MyCAA) benefit to advance their education.
But sometimes…navigating through the maze of schools and opportunities can be a challenge. Many service members, veterans and families know exactly what I mean.
They go online to try and find the best school that fits their goals; they end up on a website that looks official; they get promised to get connected with a program looks promising. Unfortunately -- and all-too-often -- our troops and families find themselves dealing with folks who aren’t interested in helping them find the BEST program -- but they are happy to take their money. Our service men and women may get forced into making a quick decision. And sometimes recruiters from these schools show up on bases.
As the President said, one of the worst examples of this is a college recruiter who visited Camp Lejeune and enrolled Marines impacted by Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI) -- the nature and severity of their injuries were so significant, that the affected Marines couldn’t remember the courses the recruiter signed them up for -- but that didn’t stop the recruiter.
That’s just wrong.
But practices like that -- and so many others -- will be coming to an end as a result of today’s order signed by the President.
In short, the EO is designed to combat unscrupulous practices used by schools to gain access to the military/veteran education benefits; it protects the full range of military/veteran education benefits programs, including Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits, the Tuition Assistance program, and MyCAA; and, its provisions focus on ensuring students have the proper information, support, and protections they need to make informed decisions about their educational options.
Here’s what the EO delivers for our veterans, military service members, spouses and their families:
Today’s signing by the President is a BIG step forward in preserving -- and enhancing -- the educational opportunities for those who have served, as well as their families.