Text: H.R.4057 — 112th Congress (2011-2012)All Information (Except Text)

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Public Law No: 112-249 (01/10/2013)

 
[112th Congress Public Law 249]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]



[[Page 2397]]

           COMPREHENSIVE VETERANS EDUCATION INFORMATION POLICY

[[Page 126 STAT. 2398]]

Public Law 112-249
112th Congress

                                 An Act


 
   To amend title 38, United States Code, to direct the Secretary of 
 Veterans Affairs to develop a comprehensive policy to improve outreach 
and transparency to veterans and members of the Armed Forces through the 
  provision of information on institutions of higher learning, and for 
         other purposes. <<NOTE: Jan. 10, 2013 -  [H.R. 4057]>> 

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. COMPREHENSIVE POLICY ON PROVIDING EDUCATION INFORMATION 
                              TO VETERANS.

    (a) Comprehensive Policy Required.--
            (1) In general.--Chapter 36 of title 38, United States Code, 
        is amended by adding at the end the following new section:
``Sec. 3698. <<NOTE: 38 USC 3698.>> Comprehensive policy on 
                  providing education information to veterans

    ``(a) Comprehensive Policy Required.--The Secretary shall develop a 
comprehensive policy to improve outreach and transparency to veterans 
and members of the Armed Forces through the provision of information on 
institutions of higher learning.
    ``(b) Scope.--In developing the policy required by subsection (a), 
the Secretary shall include each of the following elements:
            ``(1) Effective and efficient methods to inform individuals 
        of the educational and vocational counseling provided under 
        section 3697A of this title.
            ``(2) A centralized mechanism for tracking and publishing 
        feedback from students and State approving agencies regarding 
        the quality of instruction, recruiting practices, and post-
        graduation employment placement of institutions of higher 
        learning that--
                    ``(A) allows institutions of higher learning to 
                verify feedback and address issues regarding feedback 
                before the feedback is published;
                    ``(B) protects the privacy of students, including by 
                not publishing the names of students; and
                    ``(C) publishes only feedback that conforms with 
                criteria for relevancy that the Secretary shall 
                determine.
            ``(3) The merit of and the manner in which a State approving 
        agency shares with an accrediting agency or association 
        recognized by the Secretary of Education under subpart 2 of part 
        H of title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 
        1099b) information regarding the State approving agency's 
        evaluation of an institution of higher learning.

[[Page 126 STAT. 2399]]

            ``(4) Description of the information provided to individuals 
        participating in the Transition Assistance Program under section 
        1144 of title 10 relating to institutions of higher learning.
            ``(5) Effective and efficient methods to provide veterans 
        and members of the Armed Forces with information regarding 
        postsecondary education and training opportunities available to 
        the veteran or member.

    ``(c) Postsecondary Education Information.--(1) The Secretary shall 
ensure that the information provided pursuant to subsection (b)(5) 
includes--
            ``(A) an explanation of the different types of accreditation 
        available to educational institutions and programs of education;
            ``(B) a description of Federal student aid programs; and
            ``(C) for each institution of higher learning, for the most 
        recent academic year for which information is available--
                    ``(i) whether the institution is public, private 
                nonprofit, or proprietary for-profit;
                    ``(ii) the name of the national or regional 
                accrediting agency that accredits the institution, 
                including the contact information used by the agency to 
                receive complaints from students;
                    ``(iii) information on the State approving agency, 
                including the contact information used by the agency to 
                receive complaints from students;
                    ``(iv) whether the institution participates in any 
                programs under title IV of the Higher Education Act of 
                1965 (20 U.S.C. 1070 et seq.);
                    ``(v) the tuition and fees;
                    ``(vi) the median amount of debt from Federal 
                student loans under title IV of the Higher Education Act 
                of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1070 et seq.) held by individuals 
                upon completion of programs of education at the 
                institution of higher learning (as determined from 
                information collected by the Secretary of Education);
                    ``(vii) the cohort default rate, as defined in 
                section 435(m) of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 
                U.S.C. 1085(m)), of the institution;
                    ``(viii) the total enrollment, graduation rate, and 
                retention rate, as determined from information collected 
                by the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System of 
                the Secretary of Education;
                    ``(ix) whether the institution provides students 
                with technical support, academic support, and other 
                support services, including career counseling and job 
                placement; and
                    ``(x) the information regarding the institution's 
                policies related to transfer of credit from other 
                institutions, as required under section 485(h)(1) of the 
                Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1092(h)(1)) and 
                provided to the Secretary of Education under section 
                132(i)(1)(V)(iv) of such Act (20 U.S.C. 
                1015a(i)(1)(V)(iv)).

    ``(2) <<NOTE: Web posting.>> To the extent practicable, the 
Secretary shall provide the information described in paragraph (1) by 
including hyperlinks on the Internet website of the Department to other 
Internet websites that contain such information, including the Internet

[[Page 126 STAT. 2400]]

website of the Department of Education, in a form that is comprehensive 
and easily understood by veterans, members of the Armed Forces, and 
other individuals.

    ``(3)(A) If the Secretary of Veterans Affairs requires, for purposes 
of providing information pursuant to subsection (b)(5), information that 
has been reported, or information that is similar to information that 
has been reported, by an institution of higher learning to the Secretary 
of Education, the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of Labor, or the 
heads of other Federal agencies under a provision of law other than 
under this section, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall obtain the 
information the Secretary of Veterans Affairs requires from the 
Secretary or head with the information rather than the institution of 
higher learning.
    ``(B) If the Secretary of Veterans Affairs requires, for purposes of 
providing information pursuant to subsection (b)(5), information from an 
institution of higher learning that has not been reported to another 
Federal agency, the Secretary shall, to the degree practicable, obtain 
such information through the Secretary of Education.
    ``(d) Consistency With Existing Education Policy.--In carrying out 
this section, the Secretary shall ensure that--
            ``(1) the comprehensive policy is consistent with any 
        requirements and initiatives resulting from Executive Order No. 
        13607; and
            ``(2) the efforts of the Secretary to implement the 
        comprehensive policy do not duplicate the efforts being taken by 
        any Federal agencies.

    ``(e) Communication With Institutions of Higher Learning.--To the 
extent practicable, if the Secretary considers it necessary to 
communicate with an institution of higher learning to carry out the 
comprehensive policy required by subsection (a), the Secretary shall 
carry out such communication through the use of a communication system 
of the Department of Education.
    ``(f) Definitions.--In this section:
            ``(1) The term `institution of higher learning' has the 
        meaning given that term in section 3452(f) of this title.
            ``(2) The term `postsecondary education and training 
        opportunities' means any postsecondary program of education, 
        including apprenticeships and on-job training, for which the 
        Secretary of Veterans Affairs provides assistance to a veteran 
        or member of the Armed Forces.''.
            (2) Clerical amendment.--The table of sections at the 
        beginning of such chapter is <<NOTE: 38 USC prec. 
        3670.>> amended by adding after the item relating to section 
        3697A the following new item:

``3698. Comprehensive policy on providing education information to 
           veterans.''.

    (b) <<NOTE: 38 USC 3698 note.>> Survey.--In developing the policy 
required by section 3698(a) of title 38, United States Code, as added by 
subsection (a), the Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall conduct a market 
survey to determine the availability of the following:
            (1) A commercially available off-the-shelf online tool that 
        allows a veteran or member of the Armed Forces to assess whether 
        the veteran or member is academically ready to engage in 
        postsecondary education and training opportunities and whether 
        the veteran or member would need any remedial preparation before 
        beginning such opportunities.
            (2) A commercially available off-the-shelf online tool that 
        provides a veteran or member of the Armed Forces with a

[[Page 126 STAT. 2401]]

        list of providers of postsecondary education and training 
        opportunities based on criteria selected by the veteran or 
        member.

    (c) Report.--Not later than 90 days after the date of the enactment 
of this Act, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall submit to the 
appropriate committees of Congress a report that includes--
            (1) a description of the policy developed by the Secretary 
        under section 3698(a) of title 38, United States Code, as added 
        by subsection (a);
            (2) <<NOTE: Plan.>> a plan of the Secretary to implement 
        such policy; and
            (3) the results of the survey conducted under subsection 
        (b), including whether the Secretary plans to implement the 
        tools described in such subsection.

    (d) Definitions.--In this section:
            (1) Appropriate committees of congress.--The term 
        ``appropriate committees of Congress'' means--
                    (A) the Committee on Veterans' Affairs and the 
                Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions of 
                the Senate; and
                    (B) the Committee on Veterans' Affairs and the 
                Committee on Education and the Workforce of the House of 
                Representatives.
            (2) Commercially available off-the-shelf.--The term 
        ``commercially available off-the-shelf'' has the meaning given 
        that term in section 104 of title 41, United States Code.
            (3) Postsecondary education and training opportunities.--The 
        term ``postsecondary education and training opportunities'' 
        means any postsecondary program of education, including 
        apprenticeships and on-job training, for which the Secretary of 
        Veterans Affairs provides assistance to a veteran or member of 
        the Armed Forces.
SEC. 2. PROHIBITION ON CERTAIN USES OF INDUCEMENTS BY EDUCATIONAL 
                    INSTITUTIONS.

    Section 3696 of title 38, United States Code, is amended by adding 
at the end the following new subsection:
    ``(d)(1) The Secretary shall not approve under this chapter any 
course offered by an educational institution if the educational 
institution provides any commission, bonus, or other incentive payment 
based directly or indirectly on success in securing enrollments or 
financial aid to any persons or entities engaged in any student 
recruiting or admission activities or in making decisions regarding the 
award of student financial assistance.
    ``(2) To the degree practicable, the Secretary shall carry out 
paragraph (1) in a manner that is consistent with the Secretary of 
Education's enforcement of section 487(a)(20) of the Higher Education 
Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1094(a)(20)).''.
SEC. 3. DEDICATED POINTS OF CONTACT FOR SCHOOL CERTIFYING 
                    OFFICIALS.

    Section 3684 of title 38, United States Code, is amended by adding 
at the end the following new subsection:
    ``(d) <<NOTE: Deadline.>> Not later than 90 days after the date of 
the enactment of this subsection, the Secretary shall ensure that the 
Department provides personnel of educational institutions who are 
charged with submitting reports or certifications to the Secretary under 
this section with assistance in preparing and submitting such reports or 
certifications.''.

[[Page 126 STAT. 2402]]

SEC. 4. LIMITATION ON AWARDS AND BONUSES TO EMPLOYEES OF 
                    DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS.

    For fiscal year 2013, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs may not pay 
more than $395,000,000 in awards or bonuses under chapter 45 or 53 of 
title 5, United States Code, or any other awards or bonuses authorized 
under such title.

    Approved January 10, 2013.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY--H.R. 4057:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

HOUSE REPORTS: No. 112-646 (Comm. on Veterans' Affairs).
CONGRESSIONAL RECORD, Vol. 158 (2012):
            Sept. 11, considered and passed House.
            Dec. 19, considered and passed Senate, amended.
            Dec. 30, House concurred in Senate amendment.

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