August 16, 2017
WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and U.S. Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK-2), praised President Trump’s signing of H.R. 3218, the Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2017. This legislation includes an Inhofe and Mullin provision that reinstates veterans’ eligibility benefits when pursuing post-secondary career and technical education (CTE) options.
“The G.I. bill has provided access to higher education opportunities for veterans for generations,” Inhofe said. “As our workforce and educational programs advance, we must also modernize and reform the G.I. Bill. By giving veterans access to the full range of educational options—including accredited CTE courses—we can equip our veterans for success as they transition from military to civilian life.”
“This is a momentous day for our veterans and the continuation of their hard earned education benefits,” Mullin said. “With President Trump’s signature on H.R. 3218, not only are we making numerous improvements to the Post-9/11 GI Bill, such as removing the time restriction so future recipients can access their benefit whenever they’d like, but it also includes our language that allows rural veterans to start using their GI Bill benefits in a way that fits into their lifestyle. Veterans that live in rural areas, like the Second District of Oklahoma, can now use their benefit at accredited Career Technical Education (CTE) centers to complete programs that may include online or distance learning components, instead of traveling long distances to further their education. This gives veterans in rural Oklahoma the flexibility to complete their requirements at centers such as Kiamichi Technology Centers in Atoka, Poteau, and Idabel or at Northeast Tech in Pryor. I applaud the President for prioritizing our veterans by signing H.R. 3218 into law and putting the men and women who serve our country first by giving them benefits that are easily accessible.”
Before today, prior law prevented veterans from using education benefits for independent study unless it is for a degree offered by an institution of higher learning, making certain CTEs ineligible. The legislation removed this obstacle, allowing Oklahoma’s veterans access to more than 200 programs to obtain necessary and marketable skills.
A one-page summary of the legislation can be found here.
The legislation is named in honor of Harry Walter Colmery, an Army Air Service veteran and former national commander of the American Legion who drafted the original G.I. Bill in 1944 to improve the transition for World War II veterans back to civilian life.