In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, a new veteran funding source for education & training is now being offered. The Veteran Rapid Retraining Assistance Program (VRRAP) offers education and training for high-demand jobs to Veterans who are unemployed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Keep reading to find out if you’re eligible and how to apply.
COVID-19's Economic Impact on Veterans
According to the Syracuse University Institute for Veterans and Military Families September 2020 report, the veteran unemployment rate of veterans ages 25-to-34 is at 9.4%, higher than nonveteran unemployment. Military Times shares, "Before COVID struck, experts were concerned with signs of persistent underemployment, veterans employed in jobs below their qualifications. Underemployment remains a significant problem, as veterans may take jobs in reopening low-wage sectors to meet their financial challenges."
VRRAP is a veteran funding source that looks to mitigate these challenges for veterans whose employment was affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
What does it mean to be unemployed due to COVID-19?
There are two main factors to being unemployed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- You lost your job during the pandemic
- You couldn't find a job throughout the pandemic
Am I eligible for VRRAP?
All of the following must be true to be eligible for this program. You're:
- At least 22 years old, but not older than 66, and
- Unemployed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and
- Not eligible for Post-9/11 GI Bill® or VR&E benefits (or, if you’re eligible for the Post-9/11 GI Bill®, you’ve transferred all of your benefits to family members), and
- Not rated as totally disabled because you can’t work, and
- Not enrolled in a federal or state jobs programs, and
- Not receiving unemployment benefits (including CARES Act benefits)
What is VRRAP?
VRRAP covers education and training programs approved under the Post-9/11 GI Bill® and Veteran Employment Through Technology Education Courses (VET TEC) that lead to high-demand jobs. These include associate degrees, non-college degrees, and certificate programs. The Department of Labor determines what’s considered a high-demand job for VRRAP. Find out which jobs are considered high demand by the VA (PDF)
Does VA pay for certificate programs?
- Up to 12 months of tuition and fees, and
- A monthly housing allowance based on Post-9/11 GI Bill® rates
When will VRRAP be available?
VRRAP is available until December 11, 2022. The VA will stop making payments on this date—or when reaching either the $386 million funding limit or the 17,250 participant limit.
How do I apply?
You can apply online right now on the VA website. You can also schedule a career consultation with an Education Advisor who can help you with the process. Click here to schedule a career consultation now.
GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). More information about education benefits offered by VA is available at the official U.S. government Web site at https://www.benefits.va.gov/gibill.