Increase Funding in GI Bill for Veterans Attending Vocational Flight Schools

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Under the GI Bill, veterans who attend a public in-state college or university are entitled to receive, annually, payment of up to 100% tuition and up to $23,671.94 at a private university to include housing allowance and book/supplies. Currently, veterans attending vocational flight schools are limited to tuition reimbursement of $13,526.81 and are not eligible to receive a housing allowance or reimbursement for books/supplies. 

One option for a veteran seeking a pilot certification is to enroll at an FAA-approved flight school governed by 14 CFR 141. The FAA reviews these flight schools regularly, ensuring consistency, continuity and acceptable flight training practices.  Regardless of the type of school veterans enroll in (university or vocational), they must accumulate and log specific aeronautical experience and pass a three-part examination to include a written test, an oral test, and a practical test carried out by either an FAA inspector or a Designated Pilot Examiner. Upon completion of training, the FAA issues the identical certification regardless of whether it was obtained from a university or a vocational flight school.

 Despite these facts, the funding available to a veteran is limited for vocational flight schools under the GI Bill. The 2017 Boeing Pilot & Technician Outlook, a respected forecast of personnel demand, projects that 637,000 new commercial airline pilots will be needed to fly the world fleet over the next 20 years. However, the current legislation limits the funding for veterans attending vocational flight schools despite the impending pilot shortage.  

             Congress should change the legislation to allow veterans pursuing a career in aviation at a vocational flight school to have the full benefit that is afforded to veterans attending a college or a university.