Friday, October 10, 2008

VA Announces "In House" Option to Implement IT Aspects of New GI Bill

WASHINGTON (Oct. 10, 2008) -- The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)
announced today that it will rely upon its own workforce to set up the
information technology programs needed to implement the educational
benefits of the new Post-9/11 GI Bill.

The Department's announcement came after VA officials did not receive
enough proposals from qualified private-sector contractors to create an
information technology program that implements the new benefit. At no
time did VA consider contracting out responsibility for actually
administering this educational assistance.

"Many private contractors were apparently reluctant to offer proposals
because of external misconceptions as to the scope of the work involved.
While it is unfortunate that we will not have the technical expertise
from the private sector available to assist us in developing the
information technology solution, the VA can and will deliver the
benefits program on time," said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Dr. James
B. Peake.

"The Post-9/11 GI Bill is unusually complex, with payments being
tailored to tuition costs and going to both students and educational
institutions," said Patrick W. Dunne, the Under Secretary for Benefits.
"Some benefits are determined by a school's zip code, and others by
in-state rates for tuition."

Dunne said the Department would have been remiss if it had failed to
assess the ability of the private sector to assist VA to set up the
technology aspects of the program's implementation.

The Post-9/11 GI Bill will provide educational assistance to veterans,
military members, reservists and National Guard members who have served
since Sept. 11, 2001. By law, the new benefits are scheduled to start
on Aug. 1, 2009.