President Biden approved the “Responsible Education Mitigating Options and Technical Extensions Act” or the “REMOTE Act” into law. A new policy requiring Cypress College GI bill recipients to confirm attendance in college courses once a month.
Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) describes the bill: “to ensure student veterans can access their full housing allowances while pursuing education remotely during the pandemic.” (Masto, 2021)
The new policy rolled out last year for non-college degree (NDC) students, and 2022 spring semester Institute of Higher learning students (IHL) are now participating in the monthly check-ins. Users of the Chapter 31 benefits do not need to worry about the monthly check-ins as this only concerns non-vocational rehab personnel. Previously, the verification was done at the beginning of every semester, along with class registration and the benefactor approving the GI bill’s use for their enrolling semester.
This new policy is a step towards adapting to our fluid education curriculum, which appears to be moving to more online education than in-person classes. Before the pandemic, online training classes were not considered for fulfilling the college credit quota. GI Bill students have had to achieve this requirement by attending in-person courses, which are currently given temporary leniency due to COVID-19 public mandates. Because of this new act, we can look forward to the possibility of using the GI Bill for an entirely online curriculum in the future.
Cypress College VRC Counselor/Coordinator Dr. Juan Carlos Garcia explained that the new check-in “Should be as easy as opting into texting and then verifying your enrollment”. Students can check in either by text message, email, or phone call verification. Registration for verification is automatic for all current GI bill users. However, the text verification is opt-in only and benefactors must apply for it on their own.
Penalties regarding missing the check-in will go by a two-strike rule. If the check-in is missed twice in a row, the benefits are put on hold until the benefactor makes a phone check-in to the VA for verifying attendance. Dr. Gracia has expressed that the VRC is willing to help with information and verification of attendance for the re-verification process. However, the recipient still needs to do the communication work independently.
New GI benefactors are asked to register and check-in by contacting the Education Call Center (ECC) at 1-888-GIBILL-1 (1-888-442-4551).
If you have any questions regarding the GI bill or the new monthly policy, please contact the VRC (714) 484-7150 or visit https://www.benefits.va.gov/gibill/