The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) provides eligible military personnel, veterans, and certain family members with educational benefits such as payment for tuition and fees at institutions of higher learning. VA must approve any courses for which those benefits may be used. H.R. 2360 would require certain courses to meet new requirements to be approved. Under the bill, education programs that prepare students for employment in fields that require licensure or certification by a state would have to demonstrate that the courses satisfy state prerequisites or have otherwise been approved by the state. The Secretary of Veterans Affairs could waive that requirement if certain criteria were met.
CBO expects that application of the new criteria would not affect the use of educational benefits. Many courses that fulfil the new requirements are already available and program providers that do not currently meet the criteria would have an incentive to comply in order to accept payment for training VA-funded students. Additionally, beneficiaries can choose from broad array of approved educational programs to which the new criteria do not apply. Thus, enacting the bill would not significantly affect the availability of licensing or certification programs for the purpose of using educational benefits, and would not affect use of those benefits.
The new criteria for approving education programs would be implemented by state approving agencies. Funding for those agencies is capped in current law at $19 million a year and we expect that full amount to be spent each year. Therefore, CBO estimates no additional costs for implementing the new criteria.
Enacting H.R. 2360 would not affect direct spending or revenues; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures do not apply.
CBO estimates that enacting H.R. 2360 would not increase net direct spending or on-budget deficits in any of the four consecutive 10-year periods beginning in 2026.
H.R. 2360 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and would impose no costs on state, local, or tribal governments.