The Best VA Benefit You Didn’t Know You Had

I recently attended the Hiring Our Heroes Career Fair at JBLM, and although I was a little apprehensive about attending this live event, it was extremely well managed. My biggest surprise while attending was how few people had heard of the VET TEC program, which is why I am writing this blog.

Back in 2017, the Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2017 (Public Law 115 48), otherwise known as the Forever GI Bill®, was signed into law. The bill had many far-reaching changes to GI Bill® benefits. A little-noticed, but powerful provision was the creation of a High Technology pilot program. This program was finally announced in April of 2019, as the Veteran Employment Through Technology Education Courses (VET TEC) program. It is an amazing benefit that allows veterans to get into fast-track programs leading to IT Careers, without using their GI Bill® benefits! Besides providing funding for tuition costs, the program provides a monthly stipend equivalent to the monthly housing allowance from the GI Bill®.

Hiring Our Heroes Career Fair at JBLM

Unlike programs approved under the GI Bill®, the VA made accountability of the training providers a central component of VET TEC. Training providers program must not only demonstrate a history of high program completions and placement into employment, they must walk their talk. In order to be reimbursed by the VA, students must not only graduate from the program, but they must also gain successful employment. And while regular training providers will receive at least partial payment for graduates who don’t gain employment – *A provider is considered “preferred” if the training facility agrees to refund tuition and fees if a student doesn’t find meaningful employment within 180 days of completing the program. THAT is walking the talk! And I’m very proud to announce that TLG is a preferred provider.

However, unlike the GI Bill, this pilot program is more limited in who can participate.

  • Only veterans are eligible – which means you cannot still be on active duty, and spouses or children (recipients of Transfer of Entitlement (TOE) benefits, and Fry Scholars) are not eligible (although we all hope this may change in the future).
  • Members of the guard and reserve are eligible.
  • Veterans must also be eligible for GI Bill® benefits and have at least one day of unexpired GI Bill® entitlement remaining to be eligible for VET TEC.
  • Students must be accepted by the training provider – providers have varying acceptance criteria – so you must apply to the provider as well as with the VA.

For those who are not eligible for VET TEC, most of the VET TEC programs are also eligible for GI Bill® or VRE funding, and you’ll have the added benefit of knowing that these programs are truly employment-oriented, not just training oriented.

The program has been so popular that the VA has run out of funds for this fiscal year – but new funding will be available on 1 October 2020. If you are at all interested, I would encourage you to apply as soon as you can, to make sure you will have access to funding.

This is just a brief overview, but you can find complete information, including how to apply here:

https://www.va.gov/education/about-gi-bill-benefits/how-to-use-benefits/vettec-high-tech-program/

If you’d like to discuss, you can use this link to schedule time with staff from TLG!