Lois Frankel, Gus Bilirakis Team Up To Have Veteran Student Centers at Universities, Colleges

On Monday, two members of the Florida congressional delegation–U.S. Rep. Lois Frankel, D-Fla., and U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis, R-Fla.–brought back a proposal to help veterans attending colleges and universities across the nation.

Frankel and Bilirakis showcased the “Veterans Education Empowerment Act” which would create Veteran Student Centers at higher ed institutions across the nation. The two Florida representatives insisted their bill “will give a boost to student veterans transitioning from military to civilian life.”

“The brave men and women who sacrifice so much for our freedom deserve opportunities to succeed when they reenter civilian life,” said Frankel on Monday. “Veteran Student Centers will give student veterans the support they need on their path to a new career.”

“I have personally visited many schools that offer Veteran Student 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. I’m proud to once again work with my colleague and good friend, Representative Lois Frankel, on this legislation to encourage the establishment of more Veteran Student Centers around the country,” said Bilirakis who was the vice chairman of the U.S. House Veterans Affairs Committee when the GOP controlled the House.

“Student veterans often face unique challenges when enrolling in college. Some have been away from school for long periods, are older than their peers, have families to support, or struggle with service-related disabilities. These hurdles can lead to high dropout rates and limit potential job opportunities. The Veterans Education Empowerment Act reauthorizes and improves a grant program through the Department of Education for colleges and universities that enroll a significant number of veterans to implement Veteran Student Centers, thus providing the resources veterans need to succeed,” Frankel’s office noted.

The bill has the support of the Student Veterans of America, the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, Mission United and Veterans’ Trust.

The bill was sent to the U.S. House Education and Labor Committee. So far, there is no counterpart over in the U.S. Senate.

Kevin Derby can be reached at Kevin.Derby@floridadaily.com.

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