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Paragraph 11 carries forward with slight changes the present minimum standards contained in the existing law governing courses for onthe-job training, courses of institutional-on-farm training and courses offered by profit schools having principally veteran enrollments.
These minimum standards are substantially the same in this draft as in the present law, but there are some slight modifications. It also standardizes the paragraphs for authorizing the Veterans' Administration to withdraw benefits where either the Veterans Administration or the State approval agency finds that the standards contained in the law are not being met in regard to any course of training.
Furthermore, it provides that where there is shown to have been fraud perpetrated by the school operated at a profit that the Veterans' Administration is enabled to withdraw all benefits to veterans enrolled at such a school.
Mr. Chairman, that concludes the brief summary of the changes. If there are any questions that the committee would desire to have answered we would be glad to answer them.
The CHAIRMAN. Under the old GI bill there were new and novel courses that the veterans were able to pursue. Do I understand that many of them are discontinued under this new law? I notice it says here:
The following courses shall be presumed to be arocational or recreational in character: Dancing courses, photography courses, flight and glider courses, bartending courses, personality development courses, entertainment courses, music coursesand so forth. They are not allowed under this new bill?
Mr. COILE. Nor under the present law. This is almost identical with the provision contained in the present law. They are allowed only if the veteran ‘can show that his purpose is vocational. Any such courses may be pursued for vocational purposes, but the burden is on the veteran.
The CHAIRMAN. So if a veteran wanted to take an art course, for instance, he would have to establish that that was vocational.
Mr. COILE. Yes, sir. The CHAIRMAN. And he could, I guess, do that because I can see where some of these art courses such as commercial art would afford him a very good income for that kind of work. But in each instance they would have to justify the course as a real vocational course?
Mr. COILE. That is correct, sir, and as I say, that is almost identical to the provisions of the present law as amended.
Senator AIKEN. May I ask what prompted the recommendation on page 12, recommendation four where you recommend that we add another paragraph (d)?
There shall be reasonable certainty that at the close of his course the veteran will be employed as farm manager of the farm on which he performs part of his course, or will manage a farm of similar size and character which has been selected and for which arrangements have been made.
That would eliminate all father-son partnerships, would it not?
Mr. COILE. I do not believe so. If there is an indication that the veteran student would be made the manager of some other farm upon the completion of his course.
Senator AIKEN. Suppose he wanted to go into partnership with someone already engaged in farming, this would preclude it, would it not?
Mr. COILE. Of course the institutional farm training course is a course designed to train men to manage and operate a farm, not to become employees of a farm.
Senator AIKEN. This would permit him to purchase another farm and operate it for himself, would it not?
Mr. COILE. Well, he could do that.
Senator AIKEN. But it would not permit a partnership? It is quite an undertaking for a young man to go into farming alone, particularly in dairy farming, which requires $30,000 to $40,000 in order to get started. In all probability he will not have it, and he might go into partnership with his father or somebody else who would be able to put up the money, but would still hold the reins for a reasonable time.
I think there have been some specific cases of that nature.
Mr. COILE. If the veteran is going to manage the farm even though his father might be part owner of the farm he would not be precluded.
Senator AIKEN. Suppose his dad is not ready to retire ?
Mr. COILE. Of course there are other types of farm training—that is, State agricultural colleges, for example, to which this provision would not apply. This applies only to that man who is receiving farmmanager training
Senator AIKEN. Suppose he becomes a farm manager and the social security says his father cannot draw any social-security benefits although if he hires his son he can get the benefits? You have had difficulty with those arrangements, have you not?
Mr. ČOILE. We have had.
Senator AIKEN. We do not want to say to the boy's father, “You have to turn the management of the farm over to him." I will say in most cases the father is still better able to manage the farm than the son until he has had practical experience.
This would really require the father to turn over the management of the farm to his son.
Mr. COILE. Senator, I think I should observe that there would seem to be a grave question as to whether or not this son in a farming situation such as you describe actually can be found to be in need of institutional on-the-farm training.
Senator AIKEN. What I am trying to point out is that at the completion of this VA course, and I know boys are getting a lot of good out of it, probably getting more than others, that it still does not qualify them for farm managership. They should have a period, we might say, comparable to an internship such as a medical school graduate has because there are not too many people that would want to turn the management of their farm over to them as soon as they finish this vocational agricultural course.
Mr. COILE. This, I think, rather closely parallels the same provision that obtains now with a man who takes a course of training on the job. There is a reasonable expectation that the position will be open to him when he completes his training and is qualified to hold the job.
Senator AIKEN. Yes; but it does not require that he shall be manager of the place where he gets the job.
Mr. COILE. No; but a trained worker. This institution-on-the-farm concept is that the men are being trained as farm operators and not as farm workers. We think it would be desirable, we make that suggestion to the committee.
Senator AIKEN. It seems to me you would have difficulty getting him into a job right out of school.
Mr. COILE. For a large operation such as you describe I can agree.
Senator AIKEN. Well, it is something that has to be large if it is dairying, otherwise you go broke in 2 years, you have to have an investment of, say, $30,000 or $35,000 in order to make a living. I was just getting your ideas on the subject.
Mr. MONK. That applies only to the case of the man that is being trained by an employer-trainer, that particular suggestion, not to the man that is being trained on his own farm under his own control.
Senator AIKEN. This would not apply to a father-son partnership, or would it?
Mr. MONK. It could if the father were the trainer.
Senator AIKEN. I think this probably would require a little study.. Your recommendations are now in the bill?
Mr. COILE. They are in our report on the bill.
Mr. Reidy. Would you explain what is the VA's responsibility when it comes to books and equipment?
Mr. COILE. The present law provides that the Veterans' Administration may pay for books, supplies, and equipment as are generally required for the successful pursuit in completion of the course by other. students in the institution.
Furthermore, the law provides that the books and supplies and equipment will be deemed released to the veteran with a saving clause so that the VA may require him to pay a certain amount if he drops out of the course.
Mr. Reidy. Is there a considerable range? What has been your experience ?
Mr. COILE. A great deal of range. The Veterans' Administration, of course, tries to be guided by what is required for successful completion of the course by other students. That concept was based on the assumption that every established institution had an actual practice.
Mr. REIdy. I was wondering about the figures. How much has. been the range? How much of your pay for cost of equipment and supplies in the lowest bracket type of course and what has been the extreme otherwise ?
Mr. COILE. I am sorry that I cannot give you the figures, but I will say that the range has been very large. For example, some courses have very expensive equipment and supplies. Other courses have very moderate equipment and supplies.
Mr. REIDY. Some would run as high as $200 or $300 a year?
Mr. COILE. I cannot say that that would be correct, but it may be that that would be a reasonable figure for some courses.
I know that your top figure would be reached in some courses.
Mr. Reidy. Under this proposed law you would be giving each veteran a flat amount even though the course he might take would involve:
an expenditure of $200 or $300 a year, whereas another student might be called upon to lay out $50 or $70 ?
Mr. COILE. That is correct. The allowance for books and supplies would be a uniform allowance the same as the subsistence allowance.
Mr. REIDY. The justification for that is simply that the Veterans' Administration has had difficulty in administering this and is transferring the difficulty to the student and removing it from the Government?
Mr. COILE. The Veterans' Administration has had difficulty, and I might add, the schools have had difficulty. Many schools have undertaken to furnish books and supplies and equipment that ordinarily do not engage in that practice. They have done it because it is the only feasible way for veterans to obtain books and supplies at the time when they need them. It has constituted a considerable burden to schools, although they have been reimbursed for it to undertake to establish what each veteran needs and see that he gets it at the time he needs it and also to keep the books.
Mr. REIDY. Then the flat amount that is being proposed would be allocated to each veteran for supplies and equipment and will tend to discourage veterans from taking those courses that call for considerable outlay even though they may be very well worth while?
Mr. COILE. I think that they would be just as inclined to take those courses as veterans as they would have been inclined to take them as nonveterans. In other words, if there is a man who desires to take a medical course—and the tuition and supplies are expensive in medical courses—as a nonveteran—that is, if he has that desire and he had that aptitude, I think that he would be just as inclined to continue along that path as a veteran as he would in case the Veterans’ Administration paid all of the costs.
Mr. Reidy. Under the proposed law the Veterans' Administration will assume no responsibility whatever for evaluating the cost of supplies and equipment and whether the school is charging a fair
Mr. COILE. Under this law we would have no responsibility for that.
Mr. REIDY. You did have some difficulty under the present law under the profit schools as to the type of equipment they required the students to buy, as to whether it was necessary or not and whether it was too expensive?
Mr. COILE. Oh, yes. Mr. REIDY. The schools may still require that of the veteran, but it will not be your responsibility to step in at any point and say that this equipment is not really necessary and so on?
Mr. COILE. Of course I think there are a number of features of the bill that have to be considered together. In the first place, if the bill is enacted in its present form the school can only enroll veterans if it also sells its course to 331/3 percent of the students who are not veterans.
Now the temptation or tendency to up the tuition or equipment costs would be very greatly lessened because they have to also justify that to the nonveteran who is paying his entire expenses.
Mr. REIDY. That is all, Mr. Chairman.
price or not?
The meeting will now recess until tomorrow morning at 10 o'clock. We will have several witnesses here tomorrow, the Comptroller General, Representative Teague, a representative of the American Legion, and a representative of the Veterans of Foreign Wars.
(Whereupon, at 11:25 a. m., the hearing was recessed to reconvene at 10 a. m., Tuesday, September 18, 1951.)