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Ron DeSantis commends feds for continuing GI benefits during COVID-19 outbreak

Students had been facing a reduction in monthly stipend payments.

Gov. Ron DeSantis is praising action by the federal government to continue issuing full monthly GI Bill benefits as the country contends with the COVID-19 virus.

At specific issue were students who qualify for those benefits but were at risk of having their monthly stipends reduced. That’s because veterans who attend classes on campus receive a higher stipend than those who take online courses.

Florida colleges have largely moved to online-only instruction as the state works to stem the spread of the virus. Absent congressional action, that mandate would have triggered a reduction in those stipend payments — not because students were choosing online classes, but because they were forced to.

Congress quickly acted, however, and approved a measure to waive those rules and continue paying veterans in full. President Donald Trump supported the bill.

“Thanks to the swift action of Congress and President Trump, veterans do not need to worry about paying their expenses while furthering their education online during the COVID-19 health emergency,” DeSantis said in a Saturday statement.

“This is great news for our veterans attending school on the GI Bill. As a veteran, I know how important it is for veterans to have the opportunity to further their education after leaving the service.”

U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida’s 1st Congressional District joined DeSantis in supporting the move.

“This important measure ensures our military heroes will be able to continue their education through distance learning during national emergencies like COVID-19,” Gaetz added.

“I’m grateful that this provision was included in Congress’s response to the coronavirus pandemic and that the Florida education system has acted quickly to ensure our veterans will be able to seamlessly transition online and continue receiving this important benefit.”

Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran and Florida Department of Veterans Affairs Executive Director Danny Burgess also commended the measure.

“Education is freedom, and providing education to our veterans who fought to keep our country free is a privilege for our education system. The Florida College System and technical centers are proud to provide a world-class education and world-class support for our veterans,” Corcoran said.

Added Burgess, “I’m proud as an American to see the prompt, bipartisan actions taken to ensure our veterans continue their postsecondary education without a loss of benefits during this national crisis. With more than 43,000 Florida veterans and their eligible family members using their earned GI Bill benefits, this continuation of full benefits will go a long way to help them fulfill their educational pursuits.”

Written By

Ryan Nicol covers news out of South Florida for Florida Politics. Ryan is a native Floridian who attended undergrad at Nova Southeastern University before moving on to law school at Florida State. After graduating with a law degree he moved into the news industry, working in TV News as a writer and producer, along with some freelance writing work. If you'd like to contact him, send an email to ryan.t.nicol@gmail.com.

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