GI Bill Benefits for Flight and Correspondence Training Should Be Discontinued

HRD-79-115: Published: Aug 24, 1979. Publicly Released: Aug 24, 1979.

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Legislation was proposed by the Veterans Administration (VA) to Congress to terminate GI bill benefits for flight and correspondence training programs. VA contends that, because these two programs have not achieved their intended purpose, they did not lead to continuing substantial employment for most trainees, and because of the potential for abuse within the programs, they should be terminated.

Hundreds of millions of dollars in VA education assistance has been paid to veterans enrolled in flight training programs since the current GI bill was amended in 1967 to include such training. A random sample of veterans who completed their flight training from 1972 through 1976 disclosed that only about 16 percent had full-time jobs directly related to this training. In addition, the number of veterans who have already received flight training under the GI bill substantially exceeds the number of pilot jobs presently available or expected to be available through 1985. The overall completion rate for correspondence courses is less than 50 percent. Employment survey reports do not show whether most veterans obtained training-related employment or to what extent such employment represents the veteran's primary vocational pursuit and major source of occupational income. This is because the reports cover all students, and most students do not appear to be veterans; related employment is not limited to full-time jobs; and only a small percentage of students beginning correspondence courses are actually included in the computation of the employment rate. The GAO review supported VA assertions that flight and correspondence training programs have not achieved their intended purpose of providing continuing substantial employment for most trainees.

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