« PreviousContinue »
of subsistence to be paid to veterans receiving educational benefits under the act.
I want to emphasize the word “apparently” in that sentence.
In an effort to accomplish this end, it appears that what is actually accomplished by the proposal is a legalization of overpayments which may result from a bad guess on the part of a veteran trainee with relation to his prospective income for the ensuing 12-month period.
The bill does not provide for a recovery of overpayments, and the experience of the past 7 years certainly indicates that overpayments in great amounts will occur. This whole paragraph is so constructed that it will make necessary a volume of regulations by the Administrator which will result in legislation by direction, a situation which the association believes should be studiously avoided.
A further provision of paragraph 6 is that 36 hours per week of attendance shall be required for qualification as a full-time course in trade or technical school below the college level. This is a provision which was sought in Public Law 610 but which was denied by the Congress as being contrary to customary school practice throughout the Nation generally. It is the opinion that this practice has not changed since July 1950, and that a standard week of the minimum of 25 and 30 hours' attendance is a correct criterion.
In passing, it might be well to note that a Veterans Administration change in regulation dated September 6, 1951, limits full-time attendance to schools whose classes are in session a minimum of 5 days per week. This regulation was promulgated despite the fact that a number of schools which have been considered acceptable by Stateapproval agencies and Federal contracts with the Veterans Administration for training veterans under Public Law 346 have been operating successfully for four 8-hour days over a considerable period of time.
To our knowledge, neither the Veterans' Administration nor the supervising agencies of the State have questioned the quality of instruction being offered in these institutions. This citation is made in order to point out the efforts being made to force educational institutions to conform to a pattern predetermined by central-office administrators who apparently are primarily not interested in quality instruction but rather in administrative policies conceived on a high administrative level.
Based on the experience in the administration of the institutional on-farm training, it is the opinion of the State approval agencies that institutional on-farm training should not comprehend the inclusion of employee training, as contemplated in paragraph 2, page 21, of the bill as printed August 1, 1951, the committee print.
That concludes our testimony, Senator. We would be glad to answer any questions.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you.
Has your association made an investigation of the alleged abuses that have occurred under the GI bill?
Mr. ROBINSON. You mean on a national level ?
The CHAIRMAN. Yes.
Mr. ROBINSON. No; we have followed closely the investigations that have been made by the Teague committee and by the General Accounting Office. The association itself, being young and not rich and able to employ investigators, has made no investigation of its
The CHAIRMAN. Do I understand that your association recommends that the final authority be placed in the hands of the State officials in the operation of this program?
Mr. ROBINSON. We have made no such recommendation in this brief, Senator; but we do think that there should be a definition of authority in any legislation. We think that, in the present legislation and in the proposed legislation, approval agencies of the State are only mentioned in passing.
There is no authority provided in the legislation for their existence. Historically, when the Servicemen's Readjustment Act was passed and this mention was made, General Hines took it upon himself to send letters to the chief executive officers of the several Territories and States requesting that they designate some branch of the Government or some agency in the State to act as an approval agency for that political subdivision.
That is the way the State approval agencies came into existence. Some States have one agency approving all types of training, and others have two or more agencies. If there happens to be a statutory body for the approval and supervision of industrial training or appenticeship training, that agency generally was assigned that area, and some other agency assigned the schools.
The CHAIRMAN. But they have no statutory position; that is to say, the laws do not recognize them?
Mr. ROBINSON. The Federal law does not.
Mr. ROBINSON. Well, some of them are, and some of them simply exist by decree. In some of the States there has been legislation, and in other States simply by decree of the Governor.
The CHAIRMAN. Are there any other questions?
Mr. Jones, do you think it is feasible or advantageous to attempt to spell out in a bill of this kind the criteria governing admissibility of schools to the program?
Mr. JONES. Specific reference to criteria for approval by State agencies?
Mr. COBURN. Yes.
Mr. Jones. Yes, in general. Public Law 610 does that to a certain extent. We believe that the policy of including some criteria in the law is sound. We do not believe you can put detailed specific criteria in the law because of the variations in educational institutions over the country, but we do support the idea of having general criteria in the law.
Mr. COBURN. Do you think that it would be helpful for the Veterans' Administration to set up, say, a general criteria to pass on to the State approval agency, for example, and define the area in which admissibility would be granted ?
Mr. JONES. We certainly do not. We do not believe that education should be subject to controls outlined and adopted and make it man
datory for us to adopt it by a Federal agency. We believe that is quite contrary to educational practices. We believe the educational agencies in the various States have done an excellent job of carrying out the education. We believe it would be well to leave it out. We believe that no further changes should be made in the registration system.
Mr. COBURN. Was your association consulted by the authors of this bill in the drafting of it?
Mr. JONES. No, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you for your statement here this morning, gentlemen.
Mr. Jones. Senator, we thank you very kindly for the opportunity to appear, and we appreciate it very much.
The_CHAIRMAN. At this time we will hear from Charles H. Slayman, Jr., national legislative director of the American Veterans of World War II.
STATEMENT OF CHARLES H. SLAYMAN, JR., NATIONAL LEGISLA
TIVE DIRECTOR OF AMVETS (AMERICAN VETERANS OF WORLD WAR II), WASHINGTON, D. C.
Mr. SLAYMAN. Mr. Chairman, my name is Charles H. Slayman, Jr. I am national legislative director of AMVETS-American Veterans of World War II—which is one of the four major veterans' organizations, is the largest World War II veterans' organization, and is the only World War II veterans' organization chartered by Congress.
AMVETS have repeatedly urged the extension of World War II veterans' benefits to veterans of current active duty in the Armed Forces of the United States who have served on or after June 27, 1950, and prior to a date to be determined by Presidential proclamation or by a congressional concurrent resolution. These men and women are popularly referred to as “Korean conflict veterans," and often as "Korean veterans." We recognize that, wherever they are serving in the Armed Forces of the United States, their duty has some connection with the action in Korea; and, therefore, we feel that active duty between certain dates is the sound basis for determining entitlement to veterans' benefits, and that there should not be a requirement that they must have been on duty in a particular geographical area.
The Congress has extended some World War II veterans' benefits medical, hospital, and domiciliary care-to this new crop of veterans. You now have before this committee S. 1940 to extend, to some degree, educational and training benefits to these new veterans. We were happy to receive an invitation to appear before you on this bill; we appreciate consideration by a Senate committee of this subject matter. We suggest that S. 1940, while inadequate in its present language, offers excellent opportunity for discussion directed toward drafting desirable legislation.
We feel that several of the stringent provisions of S. 1940 will prevent veterans from obtaining education and training which benefit not only themselves but which directly better our American society. We are proud of our many World War II veterans who improved themselves by making use of the educational opportunities provided by title II of the Servicemen's Readjustment Act of 1944, popularly called the GI bill of rights. We do not think that the stricter require. ments proposed in S. 1940 are fair to present veterans; we do not think that they are the best way to correct any abuses which may have occurred under the above law.
Abuses of educational privileges should, of course, be corrected. Better policing of the schools and institutions would seem to be the wiser method, rather than restricting the opportunities of the individual veteran. In this regard, we look forward to the report of the House committee investigating education, under the chairmanship of Representative Olin Teague. I understand that that report will be out soon. However, we urge the Senate to proceed with consideration of S. 1940 and necessary changes indicated.
Mr. Chairman, AMVETS raise certain objections to provisions of S. 1940:
1. We do not think a change in the basic entitlement-computation method is necessary. We suggest that the method used for World War II veterans should be continued; i. e., that 1 year of full-time training should be granted for the first 90 days of active duty, and a matching month per month for active duty thereafter.
2. We feel that the best interests of society and the individual are served by placing no requirements for benefits on the basis of age, actual or presumed interruption of study, or need. We suggest that the provision relating to the twenty-third birthday should be eliminated.
3. We do not think a change in the period in which educational courses must be initiated is necessary. We suggest that a provision similar to the one applicable to World War II veterans should be adopted; i. e., study must be commenced not later than 4 years after discharge or a certain date July 25, 1951—whichever is later.
4. We do not think that limiting the Government's tuition payments to one-half the cost, up to a maximum of $300, is the proper way to correct any abuses which may have existed under present law. If the ('ongress, after reconsideration of the matter, feels that the $500 tuition maximum, permitted under Public Law 346, encouraged schools to set higher tuition rates, perhaps the Government payment should be restricted to $400 and below. However, everyday laymen's
$ notice can be taken of a general increase in all costs throughout the country, which may well account for legitimate increases in tuition amounts. However, requiring the veteran himself to pay half the tuition would not attack the problem of an inflated tuition, and it will prevent many from embarking on desirable educational courses.
5. We do not feel that the proposed periodic adjustment in the subsistence allowance for farm and on-the-job training is workable. We suggest that this provision be eliminated.
6. We feel that restrictions regarding the fractional amount of time a student-veteran devotes to his training course, used as a basis in determining entitlement to subsistence allowances, should be similar to requirements for World War II veterans. We suggest that restrictions attempting to discourage part-time study are unrealistic, and unfair to a very large number of potential students.
7. This may be regarded as a small point by some, but we suggest that this bill should not be cited as the "Servicemen's Readjustment
Act of 1951", inasmuch as so many of the provisions of the Servicemen's Readjustment Act of 1944 are omitted.
In conclusion, Mr. Chairman, may I say that the payment of veterans' benefits, however large in amount financially, is one of the inevitable costs of defense and war. A great Nation which guarantees private profits on the production of defense and war materials, and grants attractive tax-amortization programs to industry, cannot shirk its responsibilities to the flesh-and-blood men and women who serve in its Armed Forces. Readjustment provisions, such as educational and training benefits as discussed here today, are enlightened means of aiding our veterans to become better citizens of our Republic. Economy or restriction on such readjustment provisions defeats the desirable purpose of such legislation.
In our annual national convention this year, AMVETS again rejected the concept of a Federal bonus.
We feel that the benefits of Public Law 346 which were granted to us, veterans of World War II, should, in all fairness, be extended to veterans of present military service.
I have attempted to keep this statement as brief as possible, and I have desired to state as clearly as possible AMVETS position in regard to S. 1940, but I have not attempted to go into great detail because I am aware that your committee has heard considerable discussion on these topics in which other represenatives are in general agreement with us. However, I am ready to answer any questions or elaborate on any of the points we have touched on.
Mr. COBURN. I was wondering if it would be a fair assumption, Mr. Chairman, to ask whether or not it is the position of AMVETS that instead of legislation of this character the provisions of the present law should be applied to veterans of the Korean conflict and other areas of the world; is that correct?
Mr. SLAYMAN. That is correct, and that has been our stand since the Korean conflict began, and our national executive committee has so announced its stand at our national convention.
Mr. Coburn. You have no changes to offer in the present law?
Mr. SLAYMAN. Well, with regard to policing the educational institutions, we want to see what the Teague report will be, and we will be very happy to comment at that time. But, in regard to the other provisions, if the so-called readjustment allowance is paid, which was the popularly designated 52–20, if it is going to be paid we do not think that $20 is very realistic, and there has been a proposal by Senator Moody of $24, 24–25 being certainly more realistic if that is going to be considered.
You are absolutely correct in taking the view that AMVETS want to see the extension of the present benefits to veterans of present Armed Forces on active duty.
Mr. COBURN. Was your organization consulted in the drafting of S. 1940?
Mr. SLAYMAN. Not to the best of my knowledge. Now, someone in our service department might have been.
The CHAIRMAN. Are there any questions?
The CHAIRMAN. Dr. Edgar Fuller, executive secretary, National Council of Chief State School Officers?