President Biden Signs Durbin, D. Davis, Underwood Bill Restoring Education Benefits To Veterans Into Law

The Veteran Rapid Retraining Assistance Program Restoration and Recovery Act will restore pandemic education benefits to veterans defrauded by for-profit colleges

WASHINGTON Yesterday, President Joe Biden signed the Veteran Rapid Retraining Assistance Program Restoration and Recovery Act, legislation introduced by U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), U.S. Representative Danny Davis (D-IL-7), and U.S. Representative Lauren Underwood (D-IL-14), into law.  The legislation will help more than 300 Illinois veterans who were scammed out of their benefits by the unaccredited, for-profit Future Tech Career Institute (FTCI) in Chicago.

“During the pandemic, Congress created the Veteran Rapid Retraining Assistance Program to help veterans get the skills they need to get good jobs. Unfortunately, for-profit colleges like FTCI took it as an opportunity to line its own pockets while scamming veterans out of a decent education,” said Durbin. “When I introduced this bill with Representatives Davis and Underwood, I hoped that student veterans would get a second chance at their education. President Biden’s support means that these student veterans will finally see the restoration of benefits they deserve.”

“I commend President Biden for the nine bills that he signed that could benefit veterans in different ways. But, of course, no population group deserves this help and benefits more than veterans. I am especially proud of my bill, the Veterans Rapid Returning Assistance Program and Restoration and Recovery Act which Senator Durbin introduced in the Senate and I in the House. Unfortunately, some of the institutions veterans attended closed or lost their accreditation, and the veterans were left holding the bag. This legislation restores the benefits to 300 veterans in Illinois and other veterans who found themselves in the same or similar situation,” said Davis.

“Every veteran deserves to access the full benefits they have earned as they pursue their post-military education,”?said Underwood.?“The Veterans Rapid Retraining Assistance Restoration and Recovery Act will restore important education benefits to veterans who have been ripped off by predatory institutions, and in the process, could provide relief to more than 300 Illinois veterans. As a Member of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, I’ve appreciated working with Senator Durbin and Representative Danny Davis to get this impactful bill passed and signed into law.”

Now signed, the law will give the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) authority to restore education benefits under the Veteran Rapid Retraining Assistance Program (VRRAP) to veterans whose education is interrupted by their school’s closure or loss of eligibility. It also gives VA the authority to recoup federal dollars from the fraudulent school. VRRAP was created by the American Rescue Plan to help veterans gain new skills to meet changing workforce demands during the pandemic.

Within six months of VRRAP benefits becoming available, FTCI in Chicago increased its enrollment from about 30 students to nearly 400, including 313 students receiving VRRAP benefits. FTCI failed to adequately expand its services and faculty to accommodate the demand. In February 2022, the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs (IDVA) withdrew VRRAP approval from the fraudulent FTCI because IDVA found that FTCI failed to provide quality curriculum and instruction.