VA Education Benefits: VA Needs to Improve Program Management and Provide More Timely Information to Students

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A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Student veterans face many challenges pursuing higher education, and problems with the Department of Veterans Affairs' (VA) administration of the Post-9/11 GI Bill create financial challenges that also affect veterans' academic success. Veterans already cope with challenges transitioning into college as nontraditional students (older or with family obligations) while they are readjusting to civilian life and potentially managing disabilities. However, veterans and school officials told GAO that delays in VA benefit payments create financial challenges for veterans that threaten their ability to pursue higher education. In ... continued below

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United States. Government Accountability Office. May 22, 2013.

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Description

A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Student veterans face many challenges pursuing higher education, and problems with the Department of Veterans Affairs' (VA) administration of the Post-9/11 GI Bill create financial challenges that also affect veterans' academic success. Veterans already cope with challenges transitioning into college as nontraditional students (older or with family obligations) while they are readjusting to civilian life and potentially managing disabilities. However, veterans and school officials told GAO that delays in VA benefit payments create financial challenges for veterans that threaten their ability to pursue higher education. In fiscal year 2012, VA's average processing times for new Post-9/11 GI Bill applications (31 days) and benefit payments claims (17 days) were over a third higher than its performance targets. Processing times during the fall of 2012 were at times even longer. These delays led many veterans GAO spoke with to take on personal debt to cover their housing expenses or consider dropping out of school. VA has taken steps to reduce processing delays, and GAO previously made recommendations to address these issues. However, VA provides limited information about benefit processing timelines and payment policies to student veterans prior to enrollment, which can leave them unprepared to deal with these payment delays. In some cases, these delays also made it difficult for veterans to access other sources of federal grants and loans since some schools are reluctant to distribute this aid to students until after tuition and fee payments are received from VA."

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Government Accountability Office Reports

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) is an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for the U.S. Congress investigating how the federal government spends taxpayers' money. Its goal is to increase accountability and improve the performance of the federal government. The Government Accountability Office Reports Collection consists of over 13,000 documents on a variety of topics ranging from fiscal issues to international affairs.

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  • May 22, 2013

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  • June 12, 2014, 7:50 p.m.

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United States. Government Accountability Office. VA Education Benefits: VA Needs to Improve Program Management and Provide More Timely Information to Students, report, May 22, 2013; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc298687/: accessed August 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.