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Obama Administration Announces Higher Ed Changes

In a Veteran’s Day press conference, President Barack Obama announced Wednesday that veterans and their dependents will now receive in-state tuition rates in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

The provision was signed into law last August via the Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act, but the implementation of the tuition consideration had been delayed. The president also called upon Congress to pass a number of bills that would tighten the requirements for schools receiving GI Bill benefits, “to reinstate GI Bill benefits for students whose schools close midterm, and extend housing benefits for students who would otherwise not receive them” and to limit the targeting of veterans by for-profit institutions, according to a White House fact sheet.

The announcement comes during a week in which the administration is proposing a number of “fixes” to higher education as current Secretary of Education Arne Duncan prepares to leave his post.

The New York Times reported this week that the secretary said schools need to improve graduation rates, increase transparency and find new ways to embrace nontraditional students, who are quickly becoming the new majority on campuses across the country.

Also this week, Vice President Joe Biden embarked on a campus tour to talk about a grassroots campaign to end campus sexual assault.

“Your generation can begin to change the dynamic on campus in a way that has never happened before,” said the vice president, who lamented the fact that, though sexual violence against women is down over the last 20 years, not much has changed on college campuses.

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