First and foremost, thank you for your continued support of Tennessee’s veterans and for your service on the House Committee on Veterans Affairs. You and your committee play a vital role in ensuring our nation’s veterans receive the support and care they have earned while serving our country.
As you are aware, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) continues to experience delays in implementing Section 107 of the Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2017. These delays, currently estimated between 6-8 weeks in length, have the potential to negatively impact more than 9,000 student veterans in Tennessee.
The scope of impact for student veterans in our state is significant, with many of our veterans relying on their monthly housing allowance to assist with living expenses. While we understand these delays are the result of information technology and programming problems, VA’s lack of communication prior to this issue has only compounded the problem. As a result, Tennessee institutions have already begun disbursing significant amounts of unanticipated aid in order to ensure student veterans are able to meet the basic financial needs of attending college. As an example, Austin Peay State University has had to employ a multi-pronged strategy of zero percent interest loans and tuition deferments, resulting in institutional funds being heavily drawn down.
The undersigned members of the Tennessee General Assembly request your fullest possible support in rectifying this backlog and disbursing the aid these students have so proudly earned through their service to our nation.
Thank you for your attention to this important matter and for your continued service.