Upper Limit Aviation and Southern Utah University Visit DC

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Officials of Upper Limit Aviation and Southern Utah University travel to Washington D.C. Monday, April 6, to meet with Utah Congressional delegates and Veterans' interest groups, to discuss compliance issues related to the Post 9/11 GI Bill Educational Benefits.

Professional Pilot Program - Upper Limit Aviation and Southern Utah University

Upper Limit Aviation Partnered with Southern Utah University

Leaders from both ULA and SUU will be traveling to Washington DC this week to meet with Utah legislators and VA interest groups.

Officials of Upper Limit Aviation and Southern Utah University travel to Washington. D.C. Monday, April 6, to meet with Utah Congressional delegates and various interest groups, to discuss compliance issues related to the Post 9/11 GI Bill Educational Benefits.

Upper Limit Aviation is partnered with Southern Utah University to offer helicopter and fixed wing flight training, as part of a standard college degree

At issue is the Veterans Administration’s 85 -15 rule as it is now applied to SUU's Aviation Program. The rule states 85% of SUU aviation students may be Veterans as long as 15% are private paying students. The VA is now questioning their own method of accounting for veterans under the 85 -15 rule.

Southern Utah University’s President, Scott L Wyatt, decided to pause new Veteran enrollments at the University until they can address the VA’s new accounting methods pertaining to the 85-15 rule. Unfortunately, this pause might be detrimental to 49 veteran students waiting to start the flight training program in late May.

“We are not certain exactly how the rule will be applied to us, but it seems clear that any proposed change will result in the University having more veteran students in the aviation program than is allowed. Consequently, SUU has placed a temporary halt on new students using the GI Bill until there is clarity on how the rule will affect them” reflected Danielle Vogel, ULA Director of Admissions at SUU.

"To remedy the accounting of the 85 -15 rule in an expeditious manner, leaders from both ULA and SUU will be traveling to Washington DC today to meet with Utah legislators and various interest groups,'” stated Lois Reid, CEO and Co-founder of Upper Limit Aviation.

“These veterans are real people who have worked hard to get here, and they are all set to start flight training on May 26th. By no fault of their own the vets are now in limbo. SUU has essentially suspended new VA enrollments, and if this is not fixed our new veteran students will suffer,” stated Michael Mower, ULA Director of Schools.
Officials at ULA believe that a change of this magnitude, so late in the game, could be highly detrimental to Veterans, and to the program in general.

In 2013, SUU partnered with Upper Limit Aviation, based in Salt Lake City, to offer flight training along with a college degree. SUU-ULA offers the highest quality aircraft and the nation's top flight instructors, making SUU-ULA a highly sought after program among students, especially Veterans wanting to use Post 9/11 GI Bill Educational Benefits.

SUU provided an enrollment report to the VA on January 21, 2015, when the semester began. The VA determined at that time that SUU was in compliance with the 85 -15 rule. SUU is required to send another report at the beginning of the summer semester (May 26th).

On March 23, 2015, the VA requested SUU to provide a new student count, using an entirely different accounting methodology. Under the new method, the University is six veteran students over the allowable limit, in proportion to its private pay students.

Although SUU has suspended VA enrollment, coursework and flight instruction for current aviation students, however, will continue, uninterrupted.

"We had two years of perfect audits, and the VA has said that SUU is the model program. It’s clear that the VA has changed their calculation formula without warning,” said Mower.

The detrimental effect of the VA’s new calculations of the 85 -15 will impact 49 students already admitted for this summer (May 2015 start). “These Veterans have done nothing wrong,” said Mower.

“Of the 49 veterans who have already been admitted to SUU for this summer, 12 have already moved from across the country and are living in Cedar City,” said Sean Reid, ULA President and Co-founder. “They have to wait and see if they'll be allowed to attend flight labs.”

"What happens to the twelve enrolled Veterans that have already moved across the country and are now living in Cedar City? This is one of the questions that need to be answered soon!" said Mower.

A student from Havelock, North Carolina, moved with his family to Cedar City, and they expect to close on a house soon.

One student stated, "I just dished out eight grand to move here (Cedar City)." This student moved his family from Gainesboro, Tennessee.

Another student shared, “I just moved here from Twenty-nine Palms with my wife and baby - now what do I do?”

A family from Yuma, Arizona stated, “I just moved here a week ago, and my wife got a job at the local hospital. She will be joining me next week.” 

SUU and ULA have been operating flawlessly together for the last 19 months. “There was an in-depth, thorough process in the development of the SUU flight training program, involving over 100 individuals, including, ULA Board of Directors, SUU Board of Trustees, the Utah Regents, SUU President’s Council, faculty, staff, industry experts, the FAA and the VA,” stated Lois Reid.

At each step of program development, SUU-ULA officials state that they have worked closely with the VA to ensure that the program was in complete compliance. From inception, SUU-ULA claims the program has had the maximum scrutiny to ensure its ongoing success.

“SUU and ULA have acted in good faith during our relationship to ensure complete compliance with all instructions from the Veterans Administration. We thought that we had an excellent relationship with the VA, following their directives at every step", said Sean Reid.

For more information related to Upper Limit Aviation please feel free to email lois@upperlimitaviation.edu, or call 855-435-4338.

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