Padilla Introduces Bill to Safeguard Veterans’ Access to Quality Education

WASHINGTON, D.C. ­— Today, U.S. Senators Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) and John Cornyn (R-Texas) announced the Isakson-Roe Education Oversight Expansion Act, which would improve U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) oversight to ensure veterans receive access to quality higher education from reputable institutions.

Through the G.I. Bill, many veterans earn education benefits to help pay for college, graduate school, and vocational training at institutions approved by the VA. The VA is not always aware, however, of institutions that are engaged in deceptive practices or have been subjected to punitive action by a state or federal authority. This can result in veterans using their benefits at bad-actor schools or schools in jeopardy of losing accreditation. 

To help mitigate fraud, the Isakson-Roe Education Oversight Expansion Act would require all VA-approved institutions to report within 30 days any adverse actions taken against them to the State Approving Agencies (SAA) and the VA.

“Veterans should be able to access their hard-earned GI Bill benefits without fear of exploitation,” said Senator Padilla. “I will keep fighting to break down the barriers standing in the way of quality higher education access.”

“Our veterans deserve to put their hard-earned education benefits toward degrees and certifications from trustworthy institutions,” said Senator Cornyn. “This legislation would help the VA root out fraud among schools and ensure veterans have access to quality education.”

Representatives Morgan McGarvey (D-Ky.-03) and Mike Levin (D-Calif.-49) passed companion legislation in the House of Representatives.

Senator Padilla has strongly advocated to ensure our veterans receive their full benefits. Last year, President Biden signed into law his bipartisan Wounded Warrior Access Act, which unanimously passed the Senate. This law streamlines veterans’ access to their benefit claim files by requiring the VA to establish and maintain a secure online tool or website to enable veterans to receive their claim files electronically. Padilla and Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) also introduced bipartisan legislation last year to ensure veterans can utilize their GI benefits at new branches of commercial driver’s license schools whose primary institutions have already received regulatory approval. Additionally, Padilla and Representative Mark Takano (D-Calif.-39) hosted a roundtable conversation with local veterans highlighting the Honoring our PACT Act, which expands VA benefits to those exposed to toxic substances, ahead of the deadline for backdated compensation.

Full text of the bill is available here.