House Passes McKinley Bill to Help Veterans, Promote STEM

Press Release

Date: July 25, 2017
Location: Washington, DC

Last night, the House overwhelmingly passed a package of reforms to the GI Bill, which is vital in helping men and women who served our country access educational opportunities. Included in the bill was a provision introduced by Rep. David B. McKinley, P.E. (R-WV) to help more veterans enter STEM fields.

"We've had almost 100 meetings with veterans since 2011," said McKinley. "These discussions are an opportunity to listen to their concerns and then go to work."

"In meetings with groups of student veterans, we learned that many veterans have difficulty completing STEM degrees in the time allotted by the GI Bill, due to the challenging courseload and the extra time it takes veterans to acclimate to academic life," said McKinley. "Our bill would fix that by giving veterans on the GI Bill in fields like engineering or computer science extra time to complete their degree."

"This accomplishes two goals -- addressing the shortage of graduates with STEM degrees, and helping veterans have the flexibility they need to complete their education," said McKinley.

"After first introducing this bill in 2014, it is exciting to finally see the fruits of our hard work," said McKinley. "I'm pleased this passed with a series of other common sense improvements to the GI Bill with strong bipartisan support."


The Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2017 (H.R. 3218) makes a number of important reforms to the GI Bill that will:

* Expand veterans' access to education and workforce training and help ease the transition from active duty to civilian life.
* Extend eligibility for GI Bill benefits for new recruits throughout their lifetimes, as opposed to the current 15 year limit.
* Make GI Bill benefits more user friendly for veterans and their families.

Rep. McKinley's GI Bill STEM Extension Act was first introduced in 2014. The bill provides veterans in the STEM fields such as engineering, sciences, mathematics, computer sciences, or medicine an extra nine months of benefits to complete their degree.