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Rep. Gosar, Sen. McCain Take Stand for Prescott Veterans
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16 April 2015   Steven D. Smith

 “If there are veterans being punished through no fault of their own, then it is the responsibility of the VA to clearly justify its rationale and explain how this decision serves the best interests of our nation’s heroes”

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, U.S. Congressman Paul A. Gosar, D.D.S. (AZ-04) released the following statement after sending a letter with Senator John McCain (R-AZ) to Major General Robert M. Worley II, USAF (Ret.), Director of the Education Service at the Veterans Benefit Administration, seeking an explanation regarding the Administration’s recent suspension of enrollment certifications for veteran students who were accepted into, but not already enrolled in, the aviation programs at Yavapai College in Prescott, Arizona:

“While proper oversight of, and compliance with, VA programs is more important than ever, the recent decision to suspend the aviation program at Yavapai College may have unfairly put some veteran students on the chopping block. There are veterans who were accepted to this program and uprooted their lives to move to Prescott under the assumption that they were going to pursue an aviation degree. If there are veterans being punished through no fault of their own, then it is the responsibility of the VA to clearly justify its rationale and explain how this decision serves the best interests of our nation’s heroes.”

 

Background:

The joint letter to Director of the Education Service at the Veterans Benefit Administration can be found HERE:

In March of this year, Yavapai College sent acceptance letters to over 30 students, mostly veterans, into their aviation programs.  Following their acceptance, the VA sent the College a letter dated March 24, 2015, which ordered the College to suspend “enrollment certifications for VA students not already enrolled” in two of its aviation concentration options due to compliance issues with 38 CFR 21.4201, otherwise known as the 85-15 rule. This rule states that 15 % of the students in the program must be civilians, only 85% can be veterans receiving benefits from the G.I. Bill.

The letter from March 25th was the first time the College was informed that the VA would be separating the College’s Airline Operations and Helicopter Operations concentrations from the other aviation concentrations to determine compliance with the 85-15 rule, which has led to this compliance issue.

The local Prescott newspaper, the Daily Courier, reported that numerous veterans had made major financial and career decisions based on their acceptance into the aviation program.