Veterans attending the new Oregon Institute of Technology campus at Wilsonville will receive housing benefits that match Portland-area costs, thanks to a lobbying effort mounted by CFM's federal affairs team.
Working with the support of the Oregon congressional delegation, CFM persuaded the Veterans Administration to reverse an earlier decision and award veterans a housing allowance based on where they go to school, as originally intended in the Post 9/11 GI Bill, not where OIT is headquartered, in Klamath Falls.
OIT President Chris Maples joined CFM at a meeting with the VA's Director of Veterans Benefits in Washington, DC last week. Within 48 hours after the meeting, VA officials gave the OIT Wilsonville campus its own facility code, which entitles veterans attending classes there housing benefits that total $1,434 per month. The VA made the change retroactive to the beginning of 2012.
"We were pleased to be part of this successful effort to honor the sacrifice of men and women who served our country and have returned home to restart their lives by attending college," said Joel Rubin, CFM vice president of federal affairs, who worked on this project.
It was Rubin's careful research and his strategic coordination with Oregon's congressional delegation that made the difference.
"The letter the congressional delegation drafted to the VA was detailed, on point and constructive," Rubin said. "It made the case for a policy adjustment. To its credit, the VA recognized the issue, embraced the solution and acted quickly."
"It's a great story of how government should work," Rubin added, "and an even better one for our veterans during this holiday season."