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Legislation Would Expand GI Bill to Cover Cost of Career License, Certification Exams

August 1, 2019, 2:48 PM HST
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US Sens. Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawaii) and Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) introduced the GI Bill Access to Career Credentials Act, which would allow the GI Bill to cover the cost of approved preparatory courses for professional and career license and certification exams.

US Reps. Gregorio Sablan (D-CNMI-AL) and Jim Banks (R-Ind.) introduced companion legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives.

“Veterans depend on GI Bill benefits to pursue their educational and career goals, and the cost of preparing for professional license and certification exams should not stand between them and success,” Sen. Hirono said. “Our bill would help veterans pay for preparatory courses so they can succeed on those exams and pursue opportunities in high-demand careers while achieving their professional goals.”

Last Congress, Sens. Hirono and Rounds introduced the Veterans To Enhance Studies Through (TEST) Accessibility Act, which improved the GI Bill educational benefit by pro-rating reimbursements for the cost of professional license and certification exams—reimbursing veterans based on an exam’s actual cost rather than charging them a full month’s benefit, according to a press release from Sen. Hirono’s office.

The legislation was included in the Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2017, which was signed into law in August of 2017. Since then, more than 5,700 GI Bill students, including 79 students in Hawai‘i, have used their benefit to pay for license and certification exam fees, the release continued.

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However, the GI Bill does not cover expenses incurred for preparatory courses to help veterans pass licensing and certification exams. Under the GI Bill Access to Career Credentials Act, veterans could use their benefit to pay for approved courses that prepare them for those exams. By covering these courses, veterans would have improved access to the resources and support they need to enter in-demand careers in health care, teaching, technology and other fields that require government-recognized licenses and certifications, the release stated.

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The full text of the legislation is available here.

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