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Reps. Frankel, Waltz, Bilirakis Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Boost Student Veteran Success

Washington, DC – Today, Representatives Lois Frankel (D-FL-22), Michael Waltz (R-FL-06), Gus Bilirakis (R-FL-12) reintroduced a bill to promote Student Veteran Centers at universities and colleges across the nation to help student veterans transitioning from military to student life. Identical companion legislation has been introduced in the Senate by Senators Jacky Rosen (D-NV) and Marco Rubio (R-FL).

“As a mother of a U.S. Marine war veteran, I've seen firsthand the adjustment from military to civilian life,” said Rep. Frankel. “Veterans often make tremendous sacrifices to serve our country and deserve an opportunity for a successful civilian life when they return home. Providing a welcoming environment on college campuses to respond to veteran’s unique transition puts them on the path to their new journey.”

"As a veteran, I know how difficult the transition into civilian life can be for our veterans," said Waltz. "Sadly, the dropout rate for student veterans is high due to the many obstacles they face while getting an education. We must help them succeed on their academic journeys by providing access to Student Veteran Centers at universities and colleges across America."

“I have personally visited many schools that offer Student Veteran Centers and spoken with the veterans who utilize them. The veterans confirm that the enhanced services and specialized resources provided through the centers are invaluable as they seek to successfully reintegrate into civilian society,” said Congressman Bilirakis. “I hope my colleagues will join us in expediting passage of this important initiative.”

Student veterans often face unique challenges enrolling in and attending college. Some may have been away from school for long periods or struggle with service-related disabilities, and many are older than their peers and may have families to support. These hurdles may lead to high dropout rates and limit potential job opportunities.

This bipartisan legislation promotes a grant program designed for institutions of higher education to establish and operate Student Veteran Centers. These centers provide a one-stop-shop for student veterans to find academic support, networking opportunities, peer mentorship, financial assistance, and career services. Last year, Rep. Frankel secured a record $9 million for centers across the country.

The bipartisan and bicameral Veteran Education Empowerment Act is endorsed by over a dozen Veteran Service Organizations, including the Student Veterans of America, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.