Improvements Needed in Implementation of the Veterans' Educational Assistance Program

HRD-78-148: Published: Nov 30, 1978. Publicly Released: Dec 26, 1978.

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The Post-Vietnam Era Veterans' Educational Assistance Program is a 5-year pilot program designed to promote and assist the all-volunteer armed forces in attracting qualified persons by offering educational assistance to young men and women who might not otherwise be able to afford an education. To be eligible, a service member must elect to participate and agree to contribute between $50 and $75 per month to an education fund. This contribution is matched by $2 for every $1 by the Veterans Administration (VA). Upon completion of his service, the participant becomes eligible for monthly educational assistance payments.

Although the program has been in effect for more than a year, VA and the Department of Defense had not issued comprehensive joint guidelines for implementation and administration of the program. Interim guidelines were issued on a piecemeal basis by the individual services. Information presented to eligible recruits varied among the services and, in some instances, was inconsistent with the law. Two services provided recruits with a scheduled opportunity to make an allotment for the program before their detailed briefing on the program. Some service personnel responsible for program implementation appeared to have a low opinion of the program. Of an arbitrary sample of 2,534 recruits questioned at nine facilities, 512, about 20 percent, indicated that they had enrolled in the program. Forty-eight percent stated that they planned to enroll later; 39 percent stated they had not decided on career goals; 36 percent contended that they could not afford the contributions; and 35 percent stated that they intended to complete their education while in the service.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Administrator of Veterans Affairs and the Secretary of Defense should take action to finalize and expedite joint program regulations. The Secretary of Defense should: (1) take action to ensure that program training materials and information presented to recruits by the various services are consistent, complete, and accurate, and that recruits receive their indepth briefing before their scheduled enrollment opportunity; and (2) monitor implementation of the program by the various services to determine the reasons for the disparity in participation rates.

    Agency Affected:


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