Online 'Hangout' to address education benefits in new VA bill

Student veterans and prospective student veterans are invited to participate in an online 'Google Hangout' tomorrow from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. (EDT) aimed to address the effects of the Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014 on student veterans.

The Hangout, hosted by the Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars and Student Veterans of America (SVA), will provide a general overview of the legislation in the opening minutes, then segue into a discussion of the law's in-state tuition and Fry scholarship provisions, led by Will Hubbard, vice president of government affairs for SVA. The session will wrap with a 30-minute interactive question-and-answer session for participants' questions about the new law.

Steve Gonzalez, assistant director of the Legion's Veterans Education & Employment Division, will help provide an overview of the legislation and answer questions from student veterans.

Generally known as the VA reform bill which will add staff to VA facilities and generally improve VA health care, the legislation also will have some effects on veterans education benefits, particularly in the area of survivor access to benefits and in-state tuition rates for veterans.

Chiefly, the act would expand Marine Gunnery Sergeant John David Fry Scholarship to include eligibility for surviving spouses of servicemembers who die on active duty. It also would allow veterans who are eligible for Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits to receive in-state tuition rates regardless of their state of residency. Gonzalez and other panelists will address both of these issues in depth during the Hangout.

To attend the Hangout, visit the Hangout page for SVA's Straight Talk with SVA: The Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014 tomorrow at 2 p.m. A recorded version of the Hangout will be released via YouTube some time after its end.