October 10, 2008, 08:00:00 AM
The Department’s announcement came after VA officials did not receive enough proposals from qualified private-sector contractors to create an information technology program that implements the new benefit. At no time did VA consider contracting out responsibility for actually administering this educational assistance.
“Many private contractors were apparently reluctant to offer proposals because of external misconceptions as to the scope of the work involved. While it is unfortunate that we will not have the technical expertise from the private sector available to assist us in developing the information technology solution, the VA can and will deliver the benefits program on time,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Dr. James B. Peake.
“The Post-9/11 GI Bill is unusually complex, with payments being tailored to tuition costs and going to both students and educational institutions,” said Patrick W. Dunne, the Under Secretary for Benefits. “Some benefits are determined by a school’s zip code, and others by in-state rates for tuition.”
Dunne said the Department would have been remiss if it had failed to assess the ability of the private sector to assist VA to set up the technology aspects of the program’s implementation.
The Post-9/11 GI Bill will provide educational assistance to veterans, military members, reservists and National Guard members who have served since Sept. 11, 2001. By law, the new benefits are scheduled to start on Aug. 1, 2009.
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