House Veterans Affairs Committee Passes O’Halleran Bill to Support Native Veterans Attending Tribal Colleges and Universities
May 5, 2021
WASHINGTON – Yesterday, the House Veterans Affairs Committee passed H.R. 2878, the Native VetSuccess at Tribal Colleges and Universities Pilot Program Act. The bipartisan bill was reintroduced last week by Rep. Tom O’Halleran (D-AZ), Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ), Rep. Dusty Johnson (R-SD), and Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK) to connect Native veterans and their families to VA services and vocational support by expanding the VetSuccess on Campus (VSOC) program to Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs).
“Tribal Colleges and Universities serve students from more than 230 federally recognized tribes across 16 states, including Arizona, and provide essential education, job, and skills training programs grounded in unique cultural traditions and values,” said O’Halleran. “As the representative for Arizona’s First Congressional District, a vast and diverse area that includes 12 Indian Nations and Tribes, I am committed to doing everything in my power to ensure that Native American veterans have access to the highest quality education available. I was proud to join my colleagues in introducing this important bill that will aid veterans and servicemembers finishing their degrees and give them the tools they need to succeed afterwards, and look forward to seeing it become law.”
The VSOC program places VA counselors on campus to help veterans, servicemembers, and their qualified dependents complete their education and prepare them for future employment and success. VSOC currently provides services to thousands of veterans at 104 institutions of higher education across the country. The Native VetSuccess at Tribal Colleges and Universities Pilot Program Act will establish this innovative and successful model at Tribal Colleges and Universities in order to provide Native veterans:
• adjustment counseling to help veterans complete education programs and ultimately secure employment
• vocational testing services
• educational and career counseling
• expedited veteran readiness and employment (VR&E) services; and
• referrals through VA Medical Centers, Community-Based Outpatient Clinics, or Vet Centers.
The American Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC) and the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) endorsed the bill.