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December 22, 2021

Trone, Takano, Levin Bill to Protect Education Benefits for Student Veterans During COVID-19 Is Signed Into Law by President Biden

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

December 21, 2021

Contact: Sasha Galbreath, Sasha.Galbreath@mail.house.gov 

Trone, Takano, Levin Bill to Protect Education Benefits for Student Veterans During COVID-19 Is Signed Into Law by President Biden

Rep. Trone urges lawmakers to pass the REMOTE Learning Act. Watch his full speech here

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, President Biden signed Congressman Trone’s Responsible Education Mitigating Options and Technical Extensions (REMOTE) Act into law, which he introduced alongside Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Mark Takano (CA-41) and Economic Opportunity Subcommittee Chairman Mike Levin (CA-49). The new law will protect education benefits for veterans amid the challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Our student veterans’ housing benefits were threatened when colleges and universities moved to remote learning, leaving veterans still living on campus in the lurch. This wasn’t right and we fixed it,” said Congressman Trone, Member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee. “The REMOTE Learning Act extends housing benefits to veterans during the pandemic, as our educational institutions continue to grapple with new variants and other challenges brought by COVID-19. Our number one job in Congress is to respond to our communities’ needs. This law does just that. I’d like to thank President Biden for his support, as well as Chairman Takano and Chairman Levin for their leadership on this pressing issue.” 

By law, the Department of Veterans Affairs is required to make significant cuts to the housing benefits afforded to student veterans who are taking classes remotely. As student veterans transitioned to online coursework during the pandemic, many remained in campus housing during shelter-in-place orders. Nonetheless, under the existing law, these students lost their housing benefits. In response, Congress took action to prevent cuts to veterans’ benefits as higher education institutions continued remote learning. The REMOTE Act will preserve this modification through June 2022. 

“When schools rightly shifted their classes online due to the pandemic, many student veterans saw a major reduction in housing benefits,” said Chairman Takano. “Last year, we passed my emergency Student Veteran Coronavirus Response Act to ensure these veterans could access their full benefits, but as it is set to expire this month, it is clear that more relief is needed. That is why I am so pleased President Biden signed Rep. Trone’s REMOTE Act into law today to ensure that our student veterans don’t lose the critical housing benefits they have earned. I want to thank Rep. Trone for leading this effort to safeguard student veterans’ benefits during this pandemic.”

“While we’ve made a lot of progress in getting this virus under control, many veterans continue to take classes online due to the pandemic and need the protections in this legislation in order to continue their studies,” said Rep. Levin. “At a time when we are trying to keep veterans housed and encourage them to pursue higher education, the last thing we can afford is to let these protections expire and risk derailing their studies or, even worse, forcing them out of their homes. I’m proud to see President Biden sign our bill to protect these student veterans’ benefits.”

For bill text, click here.

For bill summary, click here.

This legislation has been endorsed by the American Legion, Disabled Veterans of America (DAV), National Association of Veterans’ Program Administrators (NAVPA), Veterans Education Success (VES), and Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), American Council on Education, Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities, Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, Student Veterans of America, National Association of College and University Business Officers, Tragedy Assistance for Survivors.