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New federal coronavirus relief law targets student military veterans

A new federal coronavirus relief law aims to provide protections for student military veterans.

President Donald Trump signed the Student Veteran Coronavirus Response Act of 2020 into law late Tuesday.

Rep. Susie Lee, D-Nev., was one of the cosponsors of the bill, which allows the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to pay student veterans who have work-study jobs at college and university campuses canceled by the COVID-19 outbreak. Provisions also include ensuring student veterans receive a housing allowance if their school has shut down.

UNLV’s Military & Veteran Services Center, which is operating remotely due to the COVID-19 outbreak, has 22 student employees through the VA work-study program, executive director Ross Bryant said Thursday. About half help with processing benefits and half assist with a peer-to-peer mentoring program.

The center provides assistance, including managing GI Bill educational benefits and payments, for more than 1,800 UNLV students who are veterans or veterans’ family members.

Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, student veterans taking at least one face-to-face class received a $1,598 per month housing allowance, Bryant said, but those taking only online classes received significantly less.

The new law ensures student veterans get the full housing benefit, which is “phenomenal,” Bryant said. “That economically has helped.”

UNLV is also working to assist students in the Nevada National Guard, who were activated to help with COVID-19 response, Bryant said. Affected students have the ability to take a leave of absence and drop their classes with no penalty.

Contact Julie Wootton-Greener at jgreener@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2921. Follow @julieswootton on Twitter.

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