The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) pays for the tuition and fees of veterans and certain other beneficiaries at institutions of higher learning under the Post-9/11 GI Bill and the vocational rehabilitation and education benefits program. The department makes those payments from mandatory appropriations directly to the institutions, usually at the start of the academic term. However, those payments are occasionally delayed for various reasons, and in those instances, some institutions will not allow beneficiaries to begin or to continue with their courses of education.
H.R. 4830 would require the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to approve, for the purposes of participating in education benefits programs administered by VA, only those institutions that allow beneficiaries to attend the institution for up to 90 days after VA certifies that the student is eligible for benefits regardless of whether VA has made payments of tuition and fees. The bill would allow the Secretary to waive the requirement to disapprove institutions that do not adopt such a policy.
CBO expects very few institutions would be disapproved for the use of VA benefits and that most beneficiaries who would have attended any disapproved institutions would use their benefits at another institution instead. To the extent that a few beneficiaries would pursue fewer courses of education as a result of the disapproval of some institutions, direct spending would decrease by an insignificant amount, CBO estimates.
Enacting H.R. 4830 would affect direct spending; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures apply. However, CBO estimates that the net effects would be insignificant for each year. Enacting the bill would not affect revenues.
CBO estimates that enacting H.R. 4830 would not increase net direct spending or on-budget deficits in any of the four consecutive 10-year periods beginning in 2029.
H.R. 4830 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA). In order for institutions of higher learning to continue to participate in education benefits programs administered by the VA, the bill would require those institutions to adopt policies that allow eligible students to attend for a period of time while payment of tuition and fees is pending from the VA. Since educational institutions may avoid the requirements by foregoing such assistance from the VA, it is not a mandate as defined in UMRA.