Senators Stabenow, Roberts Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to End Gaps in Housing Stipends for Student Veterans

Monday, June 24, 2019

WASHINGTON D.C. – U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Pat Roberts (R-KS) today announced bipartisan legislation to end gaps in housing stipends for student veterans. Under current law, the end of an academic semester can lead to reductions or gaps in monthly housing stipends for student veterans because stipends cannot be paid when the recipient is not actively enrolled in classes. The Student Veterans Housing Act ensures that veterans utilizing Post-9/11 GI Bill educational benefits continue to receive their monthly housing stipends during breaks in between academic semesters.

Last year, Senator Stabenow held a statewide series of roundtables with veteran leaders and service providers to get their input on how programs serving veterans are working. Fixing problems with housing stipends for student veterans was one of the key issues discussed during these meetings.

“After bravely serving our country, our student veterans shouldn’t have to worry about whether they’ll lose their housing benefits in between semesters,” said Senator Stabenow. “This bill ensures that the thousands of student veterans in Michigan have the peace of mind of knowing that their housing stipends are secure.”

“The brave men and women who put their lives on the line for our country deserve the best education possible,” said Senator Roberts. “I’m glad to join Senator Stabenow in introducing this legislation to assure student veterans that their housing stipends will still be provided during academic breaks.”

“While the GI Bill has continued to be improved and streamlined through the efforts of Congress and the VA, there is still work to do in ensuring military-connected students are getting the most from this earned benefit,” said Jeremy Butler, CEO of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA). “We are pleased to support bipartisan legislation and applaud Senators Stabenow and Roberts for their commitment to ensuring military-connected students do not experience undue hardship during normal breaks in the school year as a result of gaps in their housing allowance.”

“The housing allowance provided to GI Bill users is an incredibly valuable portion of this life-altering benefit,” said Pat Murray, Deputy Director, National Legislative Service of Veterans of Foreign Wars. “It allows student veterans to focus on their educational goals by reducing the burden of housing costs. The VFW supports the Student Veterans Housing Act of 2019 which would add housing payments over break periods in order to maintain success and continuity for all student veterans.”  

The Post-9/11 GI Bill provides qualifying student veterans with tuition assistance, monthly housing stipends, and funds for books and supplies. Student veterans enrolled full-time in a college or university are eligible to receive monthly housing stipends through the post-9/11 GI Bill. In 2016, over 10,000 Michigan veterans utilized the Post-9/11 GI Bill educational benefits.

The Student Veterans Housing Act has been endorsed by Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), Veterans of Foreign Wars, and Student Veterans for America.