What is the State Approving Agency?
State Approving Agencies were created during the early days of the World War II “GI Bill of Rights.” The United States Congress, recognizing that education is a function reserved to the States, decided that each State should create or designate an agency to determine which education and training programs were appropriate for veterans to enroll in and use their GI Bill education benefits. The law establishing the education benefits program requested each State’s Governor to designate such a State Approving Agency. Laws creating subsequent education benefits, like the Montgomery GI Bill and the Post 9/11 GI Bill, continued this request.
The primary focus of the SAAs continues to be the review, evaluation and approval of quality programs of education and training under State and Federal criteria. SAAs continue to conduct on-site compliance visits on approved institutions and to those seeking approval, providing technical assistance to help them meet requirements. SAAs engage in outreach activities to encourage wider use of the GI Bill, by veterans, schools, and employers. Many act as state liaisons, helping military installations provide base personnel with quality educational offerings and information about education benefits.
SAAs have evolved in response to the changes in our society and have become educational partners with the institutions themselves, facilitating even greater and more diverse educational opportunities for veterans.
As state and national priorities change, as the function of government undergoes continuous re-examination, and as the needs of our veterans evolve, state approving agencies stand ready to meet the challenges before them. Yet in spite of the need for new approaches and technologies, differing styles of oversight and enhanced criteria for performance, the fundamental reasons for which the SAAs were originally created remain as valid today as they were in the beginning.