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fair and reasonable rate to be paid for any course in a nonprofit school where the enrollment in such course consists of fewer than one-third of the students enrolled paying all of their own tuition. It is believed that a limitation should be placed on the amount which might be paid under such circumstances and it is suggested that the proviso be amended by adding at the end thereof (line 17, p. 9) the words “not to exceed the actual cost of teaching salaries and supplies for instruction." This limitation follows the limitation contained in Public Law 346, as amended, and is believed to be fair and readily adaptable to the instances here involved. The schools and institutions which would be for the most part covered by this provision would be the below-college public institutions. Records of operations under the existing program are replete with instances of large surpluses in excess of actual costs accruing to the States and their subdivisions under this phase of the program.
The bill also provides that profit schools to be qualified and approved for the enrollment of veterans must have 25 equivalent full-time students or one-third of the equivalent full-time students enrolled paying all of their own tuition without rebates or scholarships. Also, it would provide generally that institutions must have been in operation at least 1 year prior to approval. It is believed that such provisions will aid materially in insuring that educational benefits will be furnished in established schools and will go far toward eliminating the continued existence or springing up of fly-by-night schools organized solely to reap profits from the Government under the guise of furnishing educa. tion to veterans.
The bill provides for payment of allowances for subsistence, supplies, and equipment of $80 per month for a veteran with no dependents, $110 per month for a veteran with one dependent, and $125 per month for veterans with more than one dependent, where the veteran is enrolled in a course of full-time institutional training. For part-time institutional training, institutional on-farm training, or a course of apprenticeship training or other training on the job, or a combination course, payments of subsistence are authorized in the amounts of $70 per month if without dependents or $95 per month with dependents. However, in these latter instances, the allowances would be reduced each four months. as the course progresses in the ratio that such 4-month period bears to the total length of the course. Persons attending a course on less than one-half time will not be entitled to an allowance for subsistence, supplies and equipment. It is provided further that each veteran will be required to submit to the Veterans' Administration information as to income and that a veteran's allowance together with income from productive labor will be limited to $2,580 per 12-month period for a veteran without dependents, $3,300 for a veteran with one dependent, and $3,540 for a veteran with two or more dependents. It is believed that this formula should be revised to require consideration of the veterans income from all sources.
The inclusion in the amount allowed for subsistence of an amount to cover supplies and equipment appears very desirable. Experience under the existing program has indicated that the handling of supplies and equipment and the reimbursement therefor has presented a serious problem and has been subject to many abuses, some even fraudulent. It would appear that the inclusion of an amount in the subsistence payment for such materials will eliminate all such problems from the program.
Paragraph 6 (a) of the bill would provide that these allowances would be paid to the veteran upon application to the Amministrator and upon certification of actual attendance in school each month. This would seem to require the payment by the Veterans' Administration of such allowances in arrears, and to that extent would appear to be an extremely desirable provision in that it would afford the Veterans' Administration needed time to receive and record notices of interruption or discontinuance of training, thus providing a means of eliminating over payments of subsistence allowances, which overpayments have presented such a serious problem under the existing educational program. However, if it is intended to require payment of subsistence mly after the certification by a veteran each month that he was in actual attendance during the preceding month, it would appear impractical and unworkable. It is recommended that the bill provide affirmatively for the certification by the institution with respect to all tuition and fee payments claimed, that the education or training was actually furnished to the veteran students in accordance with the requirements of this part and for the prompt notification of the Veterans Administration by the educational institutions of terminations and discontinuances. This would materially strengthen the bill and provide a basis for the application of the pro-visions of paragraph 5(b) of the bill under which the institutions would be penalized in event of their failure promptly to report such discontinuances. It is believed most strongly that provision should be made requiring the payment of subsistence allowances in arrears. Thus, it is recommended that this paragraph include a proviso substantially as follows: “Provided, That payments for subsistence, supplies and equipment shall not be made prior to the fifteenth day of the month following the month of their accrual."
It is noted that no specific provision is made for the payment of subsistence in those cases where a veteran might attend school under a scholarship or other form of educational aid, nor is provision made for charging the veteran's entitlement in such circumstances. It is suggested that appropriate provision be made therefor in paragraph 6 of the bill.
Under the proposed bill, a veteran would be allowed only such absences not to exceed 30 days a year as authorized by the institution. It is believed that this provision will preclude the granting of leave over and above excused absences as was done under the existing program. See in this connection House Report No. 3243 of the Committee on Expenditures in the Executive Departments wherein it was estimated that the cost of subsistence for three school years for payments made solely because of leave extensions after completion of courses and after periods of enrollment approximated $41,074,000.
Paragraph 5 (b) provides that overpayments of subsistence allowances, found by an appropriate committee on waivers to be the result of willful or negligent failure of the school to report unauthorized or excessive absences or discontinuances or interruptions, and not recovered or waived, shall at the discretion of the Administrator constitute a liability of the school. In view of the absence from the proposed bill of any provision authorizing the waiver by the Veterans Administration of subsistence overpayments, serious doubt would appear to exist as to their authority so to do. However, assuming that this is the intent of the bill and is otherwise authorized, no reason is apparent for providing that the liability of the educational institutions for such overpayments should be discretionary with the Administrator. It is believed that this liability as well as a liablity on the part of the institution for overpayments of related tuition and any other charges arising under such circumstances should be mandatory. It is therefore recommended that this provision be amended by adding after the word “overpayment” in line 12, page 10, the following: “together with related tuition or other payments to the school” and by striking the words “at the discretion of the Administrator" appearing in lines 12 and 13.
Paragraphs 10 of section 2 of the bill provides that the Administrator may arrange for educational and vocational guidance to eligible persons. It is assumed that this provision would authorize payment by the Administrator to educational institutions for such services as was the practice under the existing program. It is the recommendation of the General Accounting Office that a proviso be added to this section limiting the fees authorized to be paid to institutions for such services to the amount charged by the institutions to non-veterans for similar services.
Paragraph 11 of section 2 sets forth the criteria for apprentice training, on-job training, and on-farm training courses, which criteria would appear to add many additional safeguards in the administration of these phases of the program. However, with particular respect to the “on farm” training it does not appear that there will or can be eliminated certain types of abuses discussed in the pertinent sections of the General Accounting Office's survey of the educational and training program, a copy of which was submitted to your committee under date of July 20, 1951.
It is recommended that provision be made in this paragraph both under subparagraphs (b) 3 and (c) 3 for periodic inspections by the State authorities or by the Veterans' Administration with authority to discontinue any course and refrain from making any payments, in any case where it is found that the course actually being given fails to meet the requirements of this part.
It is also recommended that the bill contain a specific definition of the term "nonprofit institution.” In this connection, attention is invited to Senate Resolution 124, agreed to August 27, 1951, defining such term for the purposes of the existing educational program.
As you are undoubtedly aware, the General Accounting Office through its audit and investigative functions has kept in touch with the operations of the existing program. The findings of this Office with respect to the operations of that program were consolidated in a report of survey of the veterans' educational
and training program, referred to above. This survey pointed out the areas of operations which had presented problems both from an administrative and operational standpoint. My report to you on the bill presently before your committee is based upon the experience of the operations of this Office in connection with that program. In addition to those specifically set forth above, I have certain general observations which I feel required to make.
The present bill would inaugurate an educational program by amending section 1, title I, Public Law 2, Seventy-third Congress, as amended, and by amending Veterans' Regulation No. 1 (a), as amended. It is not clear from the provisions of the bill what effect, if any, the various other provisions of Public Law 2, supra, would have, among which is a provision that all decisions rendered by the Administrator of Veterans' Affairs under the provisions of title I of that act, or the regulations issued pursuant thereto, shall be final and conclusive on all questions of law and fact and that no other official or court of the United States shall have jurisdiction to review by mandamus or otherwise any such decision. This provision was expressly incorporated in Public Law 346, Seventy-eighth Congress, for application to title II of that act. There is also for consideration section 11 (54 Stat. 1197, 38 L'. S. C. 11a-2), containing similar provisions for general application to decisions of the Administrator “concerning a claim for benefits or payments under any act administered by the Veterans' Administration.” As this committee must know, I am opposed to the vesting of final authority in administrative officers of the Government under other than extremely emergent conditions. In the present instance, if the statutory provisions referred to were for application, the decisions of the Administrator on all matters covered by the bill, including claims under contracts and agree. ments with educational institutions, would apparently be final and conclusive on all departments and agencies of the Government and the remedy of filing claims with the Court of Claims, the district courts and the General Accounting Office would be precluded. Also, it could have the effect of circunventing the normal functions and operations of the General Accounting Cffice with respect to payments made under such contracts and agreements, and might eliminate any possibility this Office otherwise might have through the operations of established audit and investigative processes to recoup moneys erroneously expended. In other words, it could reduce the functions of this Office to that of reporting the existence of any abuses to the Congress.
I would not be so concerned if this was purely a veterans' benefit bill, providing for pensions or some form of direct gratuity to veterans. However, since the bill would authorize the negotiation and contracting with various institutions throughout the country for the furnishing of services and supplies, I am unable to see any necessity or cogent reason for vesting such broad and almost plenary authority in the administrative office with respect to such matters. In fact, in the absence of an express provision therefor as was included in Public Law 346, Seventy-eighth Congress, and inasmuch as it does not appear that the general legislation referred to was intended to apply to decisions other than those rendered to veterans concerning benefits and payments to them, it seems clear that the bill should be clarified. I strongly urge that there be included a provision, possibly in section 9, so as to restrict the application of the so-called “finality” statutes to decisions of the Administrator of Veterans Affairs rendered with respect to entitlement, award and payment of benefits to veterans and their beneficiaries under this act, and to provide that the determinations and decisions of the Administrator with respect to payments and claims for services and supplies procured under authority of this act shall constitute the final administrative determination of the Veterans' Administration but shall not preclude such remedies as are available under existing statutory provisions providing for the adjustment and settlement of claims by or against the United States.
It must be realized that the program here contemplated will entail extensive administrative processes with their attendant expenses and will not prevent many of the abuses found in the existing program. It is suggested that serious consideration might be given by the committee to a program which would grant educational assistance to veterans by payment directly to the veteran of an amount designed to cover the cost or a portion of the cost of his education, based upon rates related to the type of education or training selected by the veteran, It is believed that if such payments were to be made to veterans on an arrears hasis with a requirement that endorsement or appropriate certification be made by the educational institution of actual attendance prior to payment, adequate
protection would be afforded the Government while at the same time administrative detail and expense would be reduced to a considerable extent.
Members of the staff of this Office will be available at the hearings to be held by your committee and will be available at any time to furnish such assistance as the committee or its staff should desire. Sincerely yours,
FRANK L. YATES, Acting Comptroller General of the United States. Senator HILL. Mr. Cecil H. Munson, director, national field service, American Legion.
STATEMENT OF CECIL H. MUNSON, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL FIELD
SERVICE, ACCOMPANIED BY MILES KENNEDY, DIRECTOR OF THE LEGISLATIVE COMMISSION, AMERICAN LEGION
Mr. KENNEDY. I am Miles Kennedy, director of the legislative commission of the American Legion. We would like to present one witness before you this morning in connection with S. 1940. Mr. Munson has a prepared statement. However, he is not going to present the entire statement in the interests of saving the committee's time.
Senator Hill. We would be happy to have Mr. Munson's full statement appear as though read in the record.
Mr. KENNEDY. I was about to request that you do that, Mr. Chair
Senator HILL. We will do that, and we would be happy to have Mr. Munson summarize.
Mr. KENNEDY. Mr. Munson is chief of our national field service and for many years was chief of our vocational and educational
program and has had wide experience with this type of education, especially the educational features of the so-called GI bill.
At this time I would like to present Mr. Munson,
Senator Hill. We would be glad to have you make your presentation at this time, Mr. Munson, and your full statement will go in the record.
Mr. Munson. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen of the committee, the American Legion appreciates this opportunity to present its views on the question of providing educational and training benefits to veterans who served in the active military, naval, or air service on or after June 27, 1950.
We are proud of our part in the sponsorship of the GI bill and its enactment by the Seventy-eighth Congress, approved June 22, 1944.
On July 23, 1950, within a month after the beginning of hostilities, the American Legion took its first step to secure similar benefits for veterans of the so-called police action. As a result of a special meeting in Indianapolis on that date, it was decided to propose to the Eighty-first Congress that the same benefits be extended to veterans and their dependents with service on or after June 27, 1950, that had been provided for veterans of World War II.
We asked then for the granting of education and training, loans for the purchase of or construction of homes, farms, and business property; and readjustment allowances for the unemployed as well as vocational rehabilitation of the service-connected disabled.
Bills were accordingly introduced, but no final action was taken. The 1950 national convention of the American Legion reaffirmed its stand, and S. 714 and H. R. 1217 were introduced early in the Eightysecond Congress. In these bills we asked that the same benefits provided for World War II veterans be provided for the new veterans.
We are sincerely convinced that the Servicemen's Readjustment Act of 1944 laid a sound foundation for education and training of veterans. Amendments to the original act were based upon experience. Other amendments would be necessary to bring about desirable refinements which would be beneficial. It is believed that it is in the best interests of the veterans of the present emergency to provide education and training within the framework of the basic act.
There are restrictions placed in S. 1940 which the American Legion believes would deter veterans from seeking education or training. Our present national commander, Erle Cocke, Jr., is keenly aware of the conditions under which members of our Armed Forces are now serving in foreign countries. He visited the combat areas and talked to these men and women. He knows that they expect the same benefits accorded World War II veterans.
When appearing before the House Veterans' Committee on April 25, 1951, he emphasized his firm belief that there should be no consideration given to a reduction of benefits for these new veterans. There should be no economy practiced at the expense of war veterans.
Senator Ives. I take it from what you have already said, Mr. Munson, that the American Legion had no part in the drafting of S. 1940 ?
Mr. MUNSON. That is correct, sir.
Mr. Munson. The American Legion is proud that it, the largest association of war veterans in the history of this country, conceived, sponsored, and supported enactment of the Servicemen's Readjustment Act of 1944. That enactment of the Seventy-eighth Congress, approved June 22, 1944, provided benefits at moderate cost for veterans of World War II that aided immeasurably in their readjustment into civil life. The beneficial effects of this legislation on the country as a whole in the present and future generations will be incalculable.
Within a month after hostilities began in Korea, our then national commander, George N. Craig, assembled representatives of all of the continental departments of the Legion at Indianapolis in an extraordinary session on July 23, 1950, to confer on matters vital to the country's national defense. The result of passage of the Servicemen's Readjustment Act of 1944, after thoughtful and earnest study by the farsighted members of the Seventy-eighth Congress, was already so apparent that the conferees unanimously agreed that there was a need for providing similar benefits for members of the Armed Forces in active service from the time of the eruption of this new conflict such as had been provided veterans of World War II.
It was therefore decided that the organization would propose to the Eighty-first Congress that the same benefits be extended to veterans with service on or after June 27, 1950, and to their dependents that had been provided by Congress for veterans of World War II and their dependents and as to readjustment benefits, that these veterans be granted education and training; loans for the purchase or construction of homes, farms, and business property, and readjustment,