WHEREAS, the GI Bill is a Department of Veterans Affairs education benefit earned by members of Active Duty, Selected Reserve and National Guard Armed Forces and their families; and
WHEREAS, the GI Bill is designed to help servicemembers and eligible veterans cover the costs related with obtaining an education or training; and
WHEREAS, in 2008, the GI Bill was amended (â€śPost 9/11-GI Billâ€ť) to give Veterans with active duty service on, or after, Sept. 11 2001, enhanced educational benefits that cover more educational expenses, provides a living allowance, money for books and the ability to transfer unused educational benefits to a spouse or children ; and
WHEREAS, since 2008, the Post 9/11-GI Bill has been used by nearly 900,000 veterans, while in 1944, the original G.I. Bill was used by ultimately 7.8 million World War II veterans, who received education and training benefits ; and
WHEREAS, the number of minority Veterans who use at least one VA benefit or service has steadily grown from 35.2 percent in 2005 to 44.1 percent in 2014. However, the 2010 National Survey of Veterans found that over half of minority Veterans had little or no awareness of VA benefits and services; and
WHEREAS, in 2014, only 235,733 minority Veterans used education benefits of the GI Bill, which represents 1.07 percent of the total population of Veterans; and
WHEREAS, many barriers exist that account for the low rate of utilization amongst minority communities, and specifically amongst Hispanic Veterans, including a lack of knowledge regarding the benefits;
WHEREAS, Latinos continue to lag other groups when it comes to earning a bachelorâ€™s degree. In 2012, only 14.5% of Latinos aged 25 and older had earned one. By contrast, 51% of Asians, 34.5% of whites and 21.2% of blacks had earned a bachelorâ€™s degree .
BE IT RESOLVED, that increasing the use of GI Bill benefits can have a positive impact on the process of reintegrating our veterans to society, providing education and training to our veterans and their families, and amplifying as well as diversifying Americaâ€™s workforce and the middle class.
BE IT RESOLVED, that increasing the use of GI Bill benefits can be an effective tool for Hispanic Veterans, and their relatives to overcome the economic challenges of affording college and creating greater career opportunities for themselves.
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that the NHCSL encourages policymakers to raise awareness about the utilization of Veterans benefits, specifically GI Bill benefits, amongst the Latino and minorities communities by:
â€˘ creating state level awareness campaigns, and
â€˘ providing resources to facilitate Veterans and their families the process to access to these benefits.
THIS RESOLUTION WAS ADOPTED ON APRIL 29, 2017, AT THE NHCSL EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE MEETING HELD IN WASHINGTON, DC.