Veterans’ education. On Wednesday, the Senate passed the Improving Transparency of Education Opportunities for Veterans Act (H.R. 4057), as amended, by unanimous consent. The current bill comes from negotiations in both the House and the Senate committees related to veterans’ affairs and veterans’ education. The legislation would attempt to reduce waste of GI Bill funds by requiring the Veterans Affairs Department to provide more and better information geared toward student veterans. The bill also prevents schools that receive veterans’ education funding from paying bounties to recruiters for recruiting former soldiers. Preventing bounties for veterans is seen as largely targeting for-profit schools, as these programs receive payment directly and often cost more than GI Bill benefits cover. Final approval of the bill depends on its consideration when the House reconvenes after recess, which is not guaranteed, or reintroduction in the 113th Congress.
GAO report on education investment. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report which found that only a small percentage of U.S. families used education-specific accounts to save for future education costs and those who did tended to be wealthier than others. Coverdell Education Savings Accounts, or 529 plans, are designed to give tax incentives to accounts used to save for education, however, fewer than 3% of families put aside money in 529s, according to the report. Even among parents who considered putting aside money for college, fewer than 10% used the plans to do so. The report cited the different rules regarding 529 plans in different states as one factor contributing to a lack of understanding of the savings plans. The report also said that the economic downturn was making it difficult for families to save at all. View a summary of the report.
As a member of New England Council, we publish the DC Shuttle each week featuring higher ed news from Washington. This edition is drawn from the Council’s Weekly Washington Report Higher Education Update, of Dec. 21, 2012.
Founded in 1925, the New England Council is a nonpartisan alliance of businesses, academic and health institutions, and public and private organizations throughout New England formed to promote economic growth and a high quality of life in the New England region. The Council’s mission is to identify and support federal public policies and articulate the voice of its membership regionally and nationally on important issues facing New England. For more information, please visit: www.newenglandcouncil.com.