VA Almost Screws Up VRAP – Congress Steps In

This post on VRAP is otherwise known as “Why Veterans Get Frustrated By VA So Much,” in another case of Penny Wise – Pound Foolish.

There are two issues internal to the VA that have caused VRAP implementation to be difficult. First, veterans are struggling to get correspondence from the VA after they apply.

Second, and the point of this post, the VA initially decided to prevent veterans from using many high quality colleges for the retraining.

I just received word from Congressman Jeff Miller’s office about VRAP and the VA’s mishandling of the program. Congressman Miller is Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs.

According to Congressman Miller, the VA misinterpreted the intent of Congress. Initially, VA decided to prohibit veterans from using the program at Community Colleges that offer bachelor degrees.

There was no reason given for the prohibition. If anything, the prohibition was to serve as a roadblock to keep veterans out of the program when there is only one option – a Community College that also gives out bachelors degrees.

Meanwhile, a prohibition keeps colleges from competing for the funds by limiting the number of options to veterans. Limited options allows qualifying colleges to raise their market rates that the VA will pay using tax dollars.

Hence, it is another example of the VA being penny wise and pound foolish. Or, maybe just foolish.

To date, there have been 23,000 veteran applicants.

Here are the words of the Chairman:

[quote style=”1″] The original intent of the Veterans Retraining Assistance Program was to give unemployed veterans the chance to acquire the skills needed to become more competitive in the work force. The majority of the feedback I have received has been encouraging. It was recently brought to my attention, however, that VA had no plans to include community colleges that also awarded Bachelor degrees in VRAP. This was viewed by the Committee as failing to comply with the spirit of the law, as this opportunity was designed to assist veterans in finding employment, not create more roadblocks. I congratulate and thank VA for rethinking its original position and making a smart decision to allow veterans who are eligible for VRAP to attend community colleges that also offer a very limited number of award bachelors’ degrees. VRAP is a tremendous tool to help reduce the unemployment rate among veterans. VA’s reversal serves as a step forward as we begin the implementation phase of the many components of the VOW to Hire Heroes Act. I would like to thank Committee Vice Chairman Rep. Gus Bilirakis for taking the lead on this issue to ensure veterans enrolled in VRAP get the full benefits promised. [/quote]

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  1. For veterans who get screwed over by the government funded VRAP program:

    Concerning the DEATH of the VRAP:

    I have NOT completed my schooling started under VRAP, why has the government left thousands of us veterans out to rot??? Im still in training. Im about to drop out because since Congress dont have the common sense to keep the VRAP going, Im going to have to drop out of school and to take care of my daughter who has cancer. Wow, and Im paying the government to do what???

    Also found this on a Army job page:

    As an active duty Soldier, youll be eligible for:
    Up to $4,500 a year in tuition assistance, while on active duty
    Up to $85,536 for college
    Up to $65,000 to pay back qualifying student loans
    Up to $40,000 enlistment bonus.

    $195K PLUS!!!!!

    And what did the PRE-9/11 vets get for school training??????? A lousy $3600!!!!!!! Wow!! No wonder the PRE-9/11 vets feel so spit on just like the Vietnam vets…..

    1. No s#*t. Im one of those veterans and the VRAP was a joke. I’m thankful for what I did receive but to leave us with no real extention really made a mark. I had to pull student loans while on this program and when I was able to aquire my associates it got me no where. I am now doing my bachelors because of the demand set on us by most employers to get any good paying job. I’m doing this because now I’m not only not really hireable due only having an associates but in debt as well like many other vets who chose to trust this program. Not to mention being jerked around for my disability increase by lagging VA reps and being switched doctors to avoid paperwork being processed properly. Thank you for your service my ass…

  2. Here is an update:

    VRAP screwed me. I get into a certified program last year in May. Then I get my allowance up to September 30th and then it stops. They said the program I was in should not have been certified. After fighting with the VA for 4 months then I get into a certified program, and it was the exact same classes at the same school, and they start my allowance back up. Now I get a letter stating I owe them $6308.13 because I collected money for a program that was not certified. So I owe them I owe the company that gave me the student loan and that was to be paid back from the Allowance. So VRAP now has me in debt to the tune of over $12,000.00. Has this happened to others?

  3. Be careful because VRAP has screwed me. I started a program that was certified in July of 2013 and three months later the VA discontinued the certification. This is after I took out a $7500 student loan to take the courses. Now I am in default. To top it off the school worked out that if i switched to the other class registration the VA will certify my classes and this is for the exact same course. So i send in my application to the VA in Muskogee Oklahoma and i have a receipt that says they got it at 8:45 am on December 23rd 2013 but as of today they claim they never received it. This is despite my having a receipt that says they did. What a screw job. The same people that the IRS used against the tea party must be working for the VA now. No wonder they have had such a low success rate for VRAP.

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