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Old 04-11-2015, 07:12 AM   #1  
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Default VA Changing the rules for flight training

This hasn't happened yet, but I think it is likely to pass.

https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-...house-bill/476

The most important part to trainees is this:

"Prohibits VA from including flight training fees in the in-state tuition and fees at public institutions of higher education (IHEs) that are covered by post-9/11 veterans' educational assistance. Requires post-9/11 veterans' educational assistance for flight training programs at public IHEs to be determined in the same manner as such assistance for education programs pursued at non-public or foreign IHEs is determined."

As of right now the VA, through the Post 9/11 GI Bill pays 100% of tuition and flight training fees at public institutions and a maximum of $20,000 at private schools. I think (and someone correct me if I am wrong) that this is saying that the max allowed for all schools, public or private will be whatever the national max is for a given academic year. The Montgomery GI bill 60/40 plan and the Post 9/11 GI Bill's vocational amount of $10,000 per academic year will remain unchanged.

I intend to write a letter to my congressman, Adam Smith, in an attempt to stop or change this bill. It will look a little some thing like this:

Greetings Mr. Smith,

My name is Brett Williams. I am currently in the US Army, stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord and I live in Tacoma. I am writing to you to bring you attention to a Bill sponsored by your colleague Representative Brad R. Wenstrup of Ohio's 2nd District. He has introduced Bill H.R.476. (https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-...house-bill/476). This bill seeks to change the way the VA, through the Post 9/11 GI Bill, pays for flight training at public Colleges and Universities. Here is an excerpt of the summary:

"Prohibits VA from including flight training fees in the in-state tuition and fees at public institutions of higher education (IHEs) that are covered by post-9/11 veterans' educational assistance. Requires post-9/11 veterans' educational assistance for flight training programs at public IHEs to be determined in the same manner as such assistance for education programs pursued at non-public or foreign IHEs is determined."

As of right now the VA, through the Post 9/11 GI Bill, pays 100% of tuition and flight training fees at public institutions and a maximum of $20,000 per academic year at private schools. This Bill will make it so that public institutions would be limited to the same maximum benefit that could be used at a private school.

The purpose of this Bill is to stop the abuse of the Post 9/11 GI Bill. A few charlatans have found a way to bilk the VA for hundreds of thousands of dollars per student. This article in the LA Times explains what some people have been doing.

U.S. taxpayers stuck with the tab as helicopter flight schools exploit GI Bill loophole - LA Times

To summarize, some schools and their students have been using the GI Bill to pay for more than flight training. They have been using it to pay for “time building”.

The businesses that employ pilots usually require a minimum number of flight hours in order for a pilot to qualify for a job. Traditionally pilots accumulate the needed hours by becoming a Certified Flight Instructor and teaching new pilots how to fly. Many others take on jobs such as banner towing or become sky dive pilots. In order to become an airline pilot, pilots must accumulate 1500 hours to qualify as Airline Transport Pilots or ATP's. The accumulation of the needed hours are the responsibility of the pilot and should not paid for by the Post 9/11 GI Bill.

I agree with Mr. Wenstrup that something needs to be done to prevent the abuse of the Post 9/11 GI Bill. But what he proposes is too arbitrary and has the potential to discourage veterans from using this benefit. America now faces a pilot shortage that has the potential to cripple our country's airline industry. I believe the shortage is due, in part, to the high cost of training. Pilots pay upwards of $100,000 to become pilots, and then face low wages at regional airlines. That reality has caused many people to turn away from what could be a highly rewarding career. I believe we should be encouraging people to become pilots. I think the Post 9/11 GI Bill goes a long way in that regard. It is a good recruiting tool for the Armed Services and could become a good recruiting tool for the aviation industry as well.

As I have mentioned earlier, I agree with Mr. Wenstrup that something needs to be done to prevent the abuse of the Post 9/11 GI Bill. If I may be so bold, I would like to propose a change that would be more reasonable than an arbitrary limit of $20,000 per academic year.
I propose that the Post 9/11 GI Bill, when used at a public institution for flight training, to be limited to the following:

1. The certificates necessary to gain employment which are: Private Pilot, Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) pilot, Single-Engine and Multi-Engine Commercial pilot, Certified Flight Instructor, Certified Flight Instructor-Instrument, and Multi-Engine Instructor.
2. Limited to the minimum hours plus 30% required by FAA CFR part 141 for the above listed certificates. For example: FAA CFR part 141 Appendix B requires a minimum of 35 hours of flight training to earn a Private Pilots Certificate. Add 30% more time, if needed, for the student to complete the course. That’s a total of 45.5 hours, roughly the amount of hours the average pilot needs to earn their Private Pilots Certificate.

Another potential change could be to the way the Post 9/11 GI Bill handles vocational training. Vocational training is limited to $10,000 per academic year. Considering the expense of flight training, I feel flight training should be treated differently. I think removing the monetary limit and imposing the limits set in the previous paragraph, specifically for flight training, would go a long way in encouraging veterans to use the Post GI Bill benefit responsibly and discourage abuse.

I want Representative Wenstrup to help prevent abuse of the Post 9/11 GI Bill. I just think a well reasoned approach, that takes in to consideration the costs of flight training, is the way to go.



Before I fire off this letter to my congressman would any of you like to chime in on this subject?
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Old 04-11-2015, 08:59 AM   #2  
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I paid for all of my flight training and a college out of pocket. You will find a lot of people don't really disagree with what the bill is proposing. I don't have an opinion either way but flight training and college can be bought with wages earned and not just the GI Bill.
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Old 04-11-2015, 09:55 AM   #3  
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That looks great, but I think you need to remind people how you qualify for the post 9-11 gibill. When you remind them that that gibill equals over a year away from there family in a war zone they may be less likely to try and take it. That's for the guard or reserve guy to get that benefit. One way or another everyone pays, with time or money.
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Old 04-11-2015, 02:24 PM   #4  
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That looks great, but I think you need to remind people how you qualify for the post 9-11 gibill. When you remind them that that gibill equals over a year away from there family in a war zone they may be less likely to try and take it. That's for the guard or reserve guy to get that benefit. One way or another everyone pays, with time or money.
A lot of us have made those sacrifices, plus paid out of pocket.
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Old 04-11-2015, 03:37 PM   #5  
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I'm a UH-60 Guy that's doing a add on and then time building (all fixed wing). The program I'm in is VA approved which is one of the biggest reasons I choose it, and found out about this new proposed bill today from my DE giving my checkride and it has me worried. Its sad to see benefits exploited by service members and education establishments but for those of us that utilize the benefits we EARNED to advance our education and career honestly, this will be a huge loss. Thanks for taking the time to write to your congressman I will follow your lead and do the same now that its been brought to my attention.

Also, hope Upper limit and any other schools are held accountable for defrauding the Gov. and loose their privilege's from the VA.
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Old 04-12-2015, 01:42 PM   #6  
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A lot of us have made those sacrifices, plus paid out of pocket.
John, were you in the service, or a contracted pilot?'
If you were a contracted pilot, thanks for your service to the war effort in a combat zone. Just remember that there is a difference between your knowledge of your contract before committing and the more open-ended nature of a military commitment. They are not the same (and I'm not sure that's what you are saying, it just seems you are saying they are equivalent when you said "a lot of us have made those sacrifices")
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Old 04-12-2015, 01:51 PM   #7  
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Originally Posted by ASaintBernard View Post
I paid for all of my flight training and a college out of pocket. You will find a lot of people don't really disagree with what the bill is proposing. I don't have an opinion either way but flight training and college can be bought with wages earned and not just the GI Bill.
The Montgomery GI Bill required 40% be paid by the student. I think the "skin in the game" aspect of that 40% is valuable to prevent abuse. Maybe there could be a cap of $20,000 per year, and anything above that is paid at only 50% (up to another cap). There should probably be a cap put on the GI Bill overall that is easily discernible, such as $200,000 over the life of the bill. A typical non-flight training college student is not using more than about $25,000 per year if they are pursuing a B.A./B.S. degree at a state school.
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Old 04-12-2015, 03:20 PM   #8  
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Originally Posted by Fluglehrer View Post
John, were you in the service, or a contracted pilot?'
If you were a contracted pilot, thanks for your service to the war effort in a combat zone. Just remember that there is a difference between your knowledge of your contract before committing and the more open-ended nature of a military commitment. They are not the same (and I'm not sure that's what you are saying, it just seems you are saying they are equivalent when you said "a lot of us have made those sacrifices")
A lot of us have made sacrifices in a lot of different ways.

Let's not forget that the military pilot has all his training paid for and lives his career at a substantially higher pay with greater benefits than any equivalent civil position, particularly with regard to the level of experience and time in service.

The civil pilot, in the meantime, has paid for his own training, and his military counterpart's training, and for the service member separating and using the GI bill, that person's flight training, too.

A police officer and a firefighter spend their careers for far less money, putting their lives on the line. Nobody offers them flight training as a perk. On and on it goes. Everyone else has to foot the bill for their own training, and scratch their own career out of the rock.

A year of overseas deployment isn't exactly a hardship.

As for contractor v. military; yes, there is a difference. The service member gets a flag on his coffin.
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Old 04-12-2015, 03:57 PM   #9  
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A lot of us have made sacrifices in a lot of different ways.



Let's not forget that the military pilot has all his training paid for and lives his career at a substantially higher pay with greater benefits than any equivalent civil position, particularly with regard to the level of experience and time in service.



The civil pilot, in the meantime, has paid for his own training, and his military counterpart's training, and for the service member separating and using the GI bill, that person's flight training, too.



A police officer and a firefighter spend their careers for far less money, putting their lives on the line. Nobody offers them flight training as a perk. On and on it goes. Everyone else has to foot the bill for their own training, and scratch their own career out of the rock.



A year of overseas deployment isn't exactly a hardship.



As for contractor v. military; yes, there is a difference. The service member gets a flag on his coffin.

Don't undermine a lot of our different missions. There have been many of us who have spent more that a year on deployment.

I for one am using the gi bill for my flight training after giving 9 years of my life living underwater. Hate to have that pulled up from underneath. I would be for a cap on gi bill paying up to MEI through a state school.


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Old 04-12-2015, 04:45 PM   #10  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnBurke View Post
A lot of us have made sacrifices in a lot of different ways.



Let's not forget that the military pilot has all his training paid for and lives his career at a substantially higher pay with greater benefits than any equivalent civil position, particularly with regard to the level of experience and time in service.



The civil pilot, in the meantime, has paid for his own training, and his military counterpart's training, and for the service member separating and using the GI bill, that person's flight training, too.



A police officer and a firefighter spend their careers for far less money, putting their lives on the line. Nobody offers them flight training as a perk. On and on it goes. Everyone else has to foot the bill for their own training, and scratch their own career out of the rock.



A year of overseas deployment isn't exactly a hardship.



As for contractor v. military; yes, there is a difference. The service member gets a flag on his coffin.

Maybe you should sack up, join up and put your theory to the test. You strike me as the kind of guy who gains a lot of courage from behind your keyboard.
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