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Rubio, Rosen, Frankel, Waltz Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Support Student Veterans

Jun 3, 2021 | Press Releases

Miami, FL — U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Jacky Rosen (D-NV) introduced the Veterans Education Empowerment Act (S. 1881), a bipartisan, bicameral bill to support student veterans by creating, maintaining, and operating Student Veteran Centers at universities and colleges across the nation. Services at these centers will give a boost to those who’ve served in the Armed Forces on their educational and professional journeys. U.S. Representatives Lois Frankel (D-FL) and Michael Waltz (R-FL) introduced companion legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives. 
“We owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to the men and women who have bravely served our country,” Rubio said. “This legislation would help student veterans with the transition from military to civilian life, ensuring that they have the opportunity to succeed in their education and career goals.” 
“Our returning military veterans deserve the opportunity to succeed in civilian life,” Frankel said. “Student Veteran Centers provide the added support needed for veterans to have successful college experiences on their paths to finding new careers.”
“As a veteran, I know how difficult the transition into civilian life can be for our brave service men and women,” Waltz said. “Sadly, the dropout rate for student veterans is high due to the many obstacles they face while getting an education. Our service men and women have sacrificed so much to keep the air we breathe free. We must help them achieve their goals. That’s why I’m proud to support our veterans on their academic journeys by providing access to Student Veteran Centers at universities and colleges across America.”
“Our veterans’ service is inspiring, and we owe it to our heroes to make sure they are taken care of when they return home,” Rosen said. “I am proud to introduce the bipartisan Veteran Education Empowerment Act to establish and support Student Veteran Centers at colleges and universities. Student Veteran Centers are tailored to address the unique needs of veteran students pursuing a higher education, helping them transition from the battlefield to the classroom and into the workforce. One of my greatest privileges as a Senator is representing the 225,000 veterans that call Nevada home and we must provide them with the tools to succeed as they return home to civilian life.”
“Our research shows student veterans succeed at the highest levels of education and perform particularly well at schools that have built a culture of support and inclusiveness—a hallmark of which is having a dedicated physical space for student veterans to gather, study, and connect with their peers,” said Justin Monk, Policy Associate with Student Veterans of America. “We fully support the Veteran Education Empowerment Act which will help establish many more of these spaces across the country to improve academic outcomes for thousands of student veterans and thank Congresswoman Frankel for her leadership on the issue.”
Student veterans often face unique challenges when enrolling in college. Some have been away from school for long periods, are older than their peers, have families to support, or struggle with service-related disabilities. These hurdles can lead to high dropout rates and limit potential job opportunities. The Veterans Education Empowerment Act reauthorizes and improves a grant program, through the Department of Education, designed to help institutions of higher education establish and operate Student Veteran Centers. These centers provide a one-stop-shop for student veterans to find academic support, networking opportunities, peer mentorship, financial assistance, and career services. Grants would authorize up to $500,000 to eligible colleges and universities.
This bipartisan legislation has been endorsed by over a dozen veteran service organizations including Student Veterans of America, American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, United Way’s Mission United, and Veterans’ Trust.
Full text of the bill is available here.