Gardner, Rosen, and Colleagues Introduce the Bipartisan Hire Student Veterans Act

Washington, D.C. – Senators Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Jacky Rosen (D-NV) introduced today with a group of their bipartisan colleagues the Hire Student Veterans Act. This legislation would expand the existing Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) to ensure that all student veterans using their GI benefits can take advantage of valuable paid internships or work opportunities while in school.

“It's critically important that we promote educational opportunities for our veterans to ensure those who have served our nation have access to the experience they need to excel in the workforce,” said Senator Gardner. “This bipartisan legislation removes barriers to part-time employment and incentivizes employers to hire student veterans. I'll continue fighting for our brave military members to make sure they have the tools needed for a successful transition to civilian life.”

“After talking to countless veterans and military families across Nevada, I decided to introduce bipartisan legislation to incentivize businesses to hire our student vets who are currently using their GI benefits to study,” said Senator Rosen. “I’ve met with organizations like Work for Warriors and UNLV Rebel Vets on how we can help veterans find good-paying jobs. I’m confident this commonsense legislation will put student vets on the pathway towards success and will continue working on bipartisan solutions to help our veterans transition back to civilian life.”

“We applaud efforts to provide our student veterans with opportunities to find gainful and meaningful employment to advance their careers,” said Lauren Augustine, Vice President of Government Affairs with Student Veterans of America. "By encouraging businesses to hire student veterans for paid internship opportunities, this legislation will help prepare the student veteran population for success.”


Currently, the WOTC is limited in its application to hiring veterans. Employers can only qualify for the credit by hiring veterans who have a service-connected disability or have been unemployed for more than four weeks. There is also a stringent 400-hour per year work requirement. As the law stands, the WOTC does not incentivize employers to hire student vets part-time during the school year or for a summer job and does not reflect the reality of today’s job environment in which new college graduates often need work experience in order to obtain even an entry-level career-track job. This crucial legislation seeks to make three important changes to the Work Opportunity Tax Credit that will incentivize businesses to hire more student veterans, ultimately helping to move their careers forward. The Hire Student Veterans Act will:

  • Automatically qualify employers who hire student veterans using their GI Bill benefits for WOTC’s 40% tax credit on the first $6,000 of a new employee’s first-year wages.
  • Reduce the existing tax credit’s 400-hour work requirement to 120 hours if a newly-hired employee is a veteran using their GI Bill benefits, allowing a student veteran to work part-time, including in a paid internship during the summer or semester; and
  • Directly incentivize employers to hire more student veterans for part-time work and paid internships.

Student veterans deserve full benefits and fair treatment both in service and their civilian lives and Senator Gardner will continue to work with his colleagues on both sides of the aisle on legislation to support student veterans. In December 2018, Gardner introduced the Fix IOUs for Student Veterans Act to make the VA pay student veterans money they are entitled to after sending a letter to VA Secretary Wilkie mandating the situation be fixed. Gardner also recently launched his VA Readiness Initiative that empowers transitioning service members and promotes success in civilian careers.