June  13, 2024


Nathan Dowdy

House Leadership Release Statement on Legislation for Special Session on the Virginia Military Survivors and Dependents Education Program (VMSDEP)

Richmond, VA – Today, in advance of the upcoming special session on June 28, 2024, the following statement was issued in response to the filing of legislation that will remove new requirements to the Virginia Military Survivor and Dependent Education Program (VMSDEP):  

Over the last month, each member of the House of Delegates has heard from families from across the state regarding the changes to the VMSDEP program. This has been a long-standing program that has helped countless military families receive an education, improving the overall well-being of each member. Sustaining this program continues to be a priority, and we will reconvene to repeal the changes recently made to this program in the biennial budget passed last month. We are protecting benefits for all veterans and their families in the 2024-2025 school year while working together on a long-term solution. 

“I have always been a steadfast supporter of our military servicemen and women, veterans, and their families, ensuring they receive the support they deserve,” said House Appropriations Chair Delegate Luke Torian (D-Prince William). “I am sponsoring this legislation to restore the program to its previous form until Governor Youngkin’s task force provides a comprehensive report and recommendations on how best to sustain this program long-term for veterans and their families.”

“Veterans have many choices when deciding where to call home, and this program is a major reason why some families choose Virginia after their service,” said Delegate Jackie Glass (D-Norfolk). “I’ve heard from countless families in my district and throughout the Commonwealth about how these changes have disrupted their children’s lives and spouses’ efforts to further their education. I am confident we will ensure that this program continues to be a valuable asset in Virginia.”

“Virginia’s wounded veterans and Gold Star families gave more to this nation than many of us can fathom,” said Delegate Mike Cherry (R-Colonial Heights). “I am proud that both parties were able to work together in order to reverse these changes, and I thank the leadership in both parties–as well as Governor Younkgin–for their attention to this important issue.”

“As a veteran with a service connected disability and 20 years of service in the U.S. Air Force, I deeply understand the critical role this program plays in supporting our veterans and their families in pursuing higher education,” said Delegate Michael Feggans (D-Virginia Beach). “I am proud to serve as a chief co-patron of this legislation, ensuring that these families continue to receive this benefit because of their selfless dedication to our country.”

The Governor’s task force is set to meet again in July and August and will release its recommendations later this year before the 2025 General Assembly. We look forward to hearing from them as they work with all stakeholders to ensure the success and solvency of this program for future generations.