Addabbo announces Senate passage of Veterans' Academic Credit and Tuition Assistance Benefits legislation

As a long-time member of the Senate Veterans, Homeland Security, and Military Affairs Committee, NYS Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr. remains committed to providing Veterans an easier pathway back to civilian life. This includes the recent passage of two bills, S.1669 (Sponsor) and S.2119 (Co-Sponsor) granting academic credits for training and experience at state-operated SUNY and CUNY institutions, and allowing Combat Veterans to transfer their unused Tuition Award Program benefits.

“Getting a degree can seem overwhelming so having the opportunity to convert military experience to academic credits will help our Veterans save both time and money,” Addabbo stated. “Employers that hire individuals with both military training and a college degree will gain a tremendous asset and advantage,” concluded Addabbo.

Addabbo’s bill (S.1669) would allow service members to earn college credits based on experience and training from their military transcript. The American Council on Education (ACE), the national accrediting agency, convenes teams of teaching faculty who travel to military installations to evaluate military training courses and occupation-based skills, knowledge, and abilities. These evaluations determine the learning acquired through these experiences and instruction plans. ACE is the only higher-education organization that represents presidents and chancellors of all types of U.S.-accredited, degree-granting institutions.

Legislation (S.2119) co-sponsored by Addabbo, expands the veterans’ tuition awards program (VTAP) to allow the transfer of unused benefits to a spouse, survivor, or child. VTAP is a scholarship for Combat Veterans with Honorable Discharge in New York State. Currently, there are over 700,000 Veteran residents, about 400,000 of whom are Combat Veterans. Under current law, qualifying Veterans cannot transfer their VTAP benefits to their dependents.

“New York has long recognized the sacrifices made by Veterans in service to their country,” said Addabbo. “Broadening the group of individuals utilizing the Veterans’ VTAP benefits will help to create a stronger society and recognize the shared sacrifice of Veteran families."

These bills passed by the Senate were delivered to the Assembly Higher Education Committee for consideration.