The 85/15 Rule – a requirement that education programs enroll at least 15% non-Veterans to ensure schools are not cheating Veterans Affairs (VA) – has indirectly hurt many Veterans pursuing postsecondary degrees by taking away their right to use their VA education benefits. When 85% of the students enrolled in a particular program of an institution are having any portion of their tuition, fees, or other charges paid for them by the school or VA, it is Veterans who are denied their education benefits to attend that particular program. Furthermore, if a Veteran is enrolled in an approved program and is deployed for active duty or active status, they can be denied their education benefits when attempting to re-enroll due to changes in the program’s 85/15 ratio. As a result, these Student Veterans are forced to take out loans to stay in school, switch degree programs, or stop attending school without obtaining their degree.
In order to qualify for a waiver of this rule, institutions must meet all the criteria of 38 CFR § 21.4201(h). The Secretary of VA may also waive the requirements of this law when presented with a compelling argument “in the interest of the eligible Veteran.”
We are calling for an amendment of 38 CFR § 21.4201(h) to make qualifying for a waiver of the 85/15 Rule more accessible to institutions in the interest of the Veterans who deserve to use their rightfully earned VA education benefits.