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Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act

Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act of 2014

In August 2014, President Obama signed the Veterans’ Access to Care through Choice, Accountability, and Transparency Act of 2014 (VACA), into law. Section 702 of the VACA Act requires the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to disapprove programs of education, if while living in the state of the institution, a covered individual is charged tuition and fees in excess of the rate for resident students. This would mean a loss of GI Bill funding to the institution as a whole (not just the individual) if any eligible student is charged nonresident rates. The requirements of Section 702 go into effect for terms beginning after July 1, 2015. Those considered to be covered individuals include:

  • Those receiving Montgomery and Post-9/11 GI Bill educational assistance and enroll within 3 years of discharge after serving 90 days or more on active duty; or
  • Anyone using transferred entitlement within 3 years of the transferor’s discharge after serving 90 days or more on active duty; or
  • Surviving Spouses or Children under the Fry Scholarship who enroll within 3 years of an active duty service member’s death in the line of duty after serving 90 days or more; or
  • Individuals who remain continuously enrolled after initially meeting the requirements and continue to use CH 30 or 33 benefits;
 
However, in December 2016, the “VACA Act” has been amended by Public Law 114-315. The amendment makes two significant changes, and is effective for courses, semesters, or terms beginning after July 1, 2017. In summary, individuals using the Marine Gunnery Sergeant John David Fry Scholarship are no longer required to enroll within three years of the service member’s death, and there is no longer a requirement that the deceased service member’s death in the line of duty followed a period of active duty service of 90 days or more. Additionally, a new category of “covered individuals” was added to section 3679; the new category of consists of individuals using transferred Post-9/11 G.I. Bill benefits while the transferor is on active duty in the uniformed services. Thus under the updated provisions effective after July 1, 2017, a “covered individual” for purposes of compliance with the VACA Act and EC section 68075.7 is defined as follows and are subject to the continuity provisions provided under item 5: 
 
  1. A veteran eligible for educational assistance under either the Montgomery GI Bill-Active Duty(MGIB-AD) or Post-9/11 GI Bill education benefit programs who resides (lives) in California (regardless of his/her formal state of residence) and enrolls in the community college within three years of discharge from a period of active duty service of 90 days or more.
  2. An individual eligible for transferred education benefits under either the Montgomery GI Bill-Active Duty (MGIB-AD) or Post-9/11 GI Bill education benefit programs who resides (lives) in California (regardless of his/her formal state of residence) and enrolls in the community college within 3 years of the transferor’s discharge from a period of active duty service of 90 days ormore.
  3. [New category] An individual eligible for transferred Post-9/11 G.I. Bill benefits while the transferor is on active duty who resides (lives) in California (regardless of his/her formal state of residence) as described in 38 USC 3679(c)(2)(B)(ii)(II). The 3-year enrollment period limitation does not apply to eligible dependents of active duty service members. This is a new “covered individual” category which was added by the December 2016 VACA Act change.
  4. An individual eligible for benefits under the Marine Gunnery Sergeant John David Fry Scholarship (provides Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits to the children and surviving spouses of service members who died in the line of duty while on active duty) who resides (lives) in California (regardless of his/her formal state of residence). Prior to the December 2016 VACA Act change, individuals using the Marine Gunnery Sergeant John David Fry Scholarship were required to enroll within 3 years of the service members death, and there was a requirement that the deceased service member’s death in the line of duty followed a period of active duty service of 90 days or more. These two requirements were deleted effective July 1, 2017.
  5. If applicable, after expiration of the three year period following discharge as described in 38 U.S.C. 3679(c)(2)(B)(i) or (c)(2)(B)(ii)(II), A student who qualifies under the applicable requirements above shall maintain “covered individual” status as long the student remains continuously enrolled at the community college, even if the student enrolls in multiple programs, and the student shall continue to be exempt from paying nonresident tuition and other fees that are exclusively applicable to nonresident students. “Continuously enrolled” means enrolled for at least the fall and spring semesters of an academic year, or for at least three of the quarters in an academic year for an institution using the quarter system (pursuant to California Code of Regulations, Title 5 section 55701, the academic year does not include summer or other intersessions)

If you feel that you are eligible based on the above criteria please bring to your local Veterans Resource Center on campus, the veteran’s DD-214 and the Certificate of Eligibility for VA educational benefits.

In order to obtain a copy of your Certificate of Eligibility, submit your applicable VA application on the following site:  http://vabenefits.vba.va.gov/vonapp/main.asp

For additional assistance please feel free to visit your local VRC.

Veterans Resource Center MVC
28237 La Piedra Rd
Menifee, CA 92584
BLDG 1017
951-639-5237

Veterans Resource Center SJC
1499 N State St
San Jacinto, CA 92583
BLDG 1560
951-487-3247