Congressmen Panetta, Bacon Introduce Bill Supporting Veteran Students

September 13, 2018
Press Release
Bipartisan bill would authorize grants for Veterans Resource Centers to advise, assist, and support military-connected students

WASHINGTON, DC – This week, Congressman Jimmy Panetta (D-CA) and Congressman Don Bacon (R-NE) introduced the Veterans Resource Center Act.  The legislation authorizes the Department of Veterans Affairs to provide federal grants to public universities to establish, maintain, and provide services at Veterans Resource Centers on campuses.  Moreover, it incentivizes priority registration for veteran and military-connected students.

The legislation would empower universities to establish support centers, modeled after the proven success of the California State University system’s Veteran Success Centers.  The California State University Monterey Bay (CSUMB) Veterans Resource Center provides veteran and military-connected students a dedicated space to access information on campus resources, veteran benefits, Veteran Service Organizations, and social and study opportunities.

"Federal tuition support under the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill expires after three years, pressuring veteran students to complete their degrees early.  In addition, many veteran students are older than their classmates and may face unique responsibilities outside the classroom, including childcare and service-related healthcare concerns.  This bill will help our veterans choose classes that fit their personal needs allowing them to graduate on time, while simultaneously providing them social and educational support," said Congressman Panetta.  "While these support resources are utilized throughout the California State University system, including here at home at CSUMB, I look forward to expanding this service to universities and veterans across the country."

"America’s veterans are a boundless source of national strength and economic potential, especially those who wish to further their education.  This bill provides these veterans with resources on campus to ensure they graduate on time, and are on track for future success," said Congressman Bacon.  "It is crucial that the men and women who have sacrificed so much for us are not forgotten once they take off their uniforms.  We have seen the success of veterans resource centers through the University of Nebraska system, as well as at Bellevue University.  Veteran Resource Centers fulfill our promise to veterans, assist them in using the federal tuition support they have earned, and help them continue to serve America as innovators and leaders in our communities."

"A critical piece of CSUMB's vision statement is our commitment to provide a rich living and learning environment for all of the diverse people of California.  We greatly value the uniquely diverse experiences and backgrounds that our military-connected students bring to our classrooms and to our community," said CSUMB President, Eduardo M. Ochoa.  "The Veteran Resource Center Act will further increase CSUMB's, and the entire CSU system's, ability to support our student veterans and military-connected students to ensure resources are available to help them excel in their academic endeavors."

"I’m pleased to support this important legislation from Congressmen Panetta and Bacon.  The University of Nebraska is proud to serve those who have served us, through resource centers and other efforts that help veterans and military-affiliated students achieve their educational goals.  The Veterans Resource Center Act would further elevate this work.  I thank Congressman Bacon for his leadership on this bill and for recognizing the University’s commitment to supporting military-affiliated learners," said University of Nebraska President, Hank Bounds.