• August 23, 2014

GI Benefits Checks Could Arrive After Tuition Payments Are Due

Some veterans planning to pay for college this fall with Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits could be out of luck, says a report from Nextgov, which is published by the National Journal.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has been overwhelmed by claims for educational benefits, creating a large backlog, says the report, which is based on an interview with an anonymous Congressional source. The department might not be able to process some veterans' applications for tuition and fees payments by the time the veterans' classes start this month, according to the report.

Officials at the department did not respond to repeated requests for comment from The Chronicle.

As of Monday, the department had yet to process 211,251 educational-benefits claims, up from 191,388 last week, according to a workload chart posted on the department's Web site. Some colleges are already making arrangements to accommodate veterans who could be still waiting for their educational-benefits checks on the day tuition payments are due.

"We don't want students worrying about money when they should be worrying about studying," said Nicholas T. Laureys, an assistant in the office of the registrar at the University of Maryland at College Park. He said his office was working with the bursar's office to identify veterans who owed the university money but were still waiting for their educational-benefits checks to arrive.

The university will make tuition and fees payments for those veterans until they receive their checks, Mr. Laureys said. But the university will not make students' housing payments, meaning that veterans waiting for housing funds provided through the expanded GI Bill could be forced to pay out of pocket or to borrow money, he added.

The expanded GI Bill, signed into law last year by President George W. Bush, pays for veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to attend in-state public colleges at no cost to them. They can also apply the funds toward the cost of an out-of-state or private college.

Keith M. Wilson, education-service director at the Department of Veterans Affairs, told The Chronicle last month that he expected about 200,000 veterans to pay for college this fall with Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits.

Comments

1. rburns - August 18, 2009 at 04:59 pm

VA now is just another government spin factory. And Obama has the nerve (or ignorance) to talk about VA health benefits as something to model after. I joined up in the 60's with one element of the contract being that after I served my country with folks able to shoot at me the VA would provide health care for life. What a joke. Pretty quickly they declared that some Vets were too successful and so would be eliminated from ALL VA health care. Just announced it--done deal. It can happen again, regardless of what Obama says. Think about the government response if I had declared I wasn't going to serve my full enlistment--if I had broken my part of the contract with the government. I'd still be in jail. Take whatever they give you through VA--it isn't reliable and likely won't last. And when they decide to cut you off there will be no apeal. This is just one more example.

2. 11272784 - August 19, 2009 at 11:14 am

This is just another case of not thinking through government action. The previous admin completely failed to augment medical facilites for veterans even though it was easy to anticipate that sending tens of thousands more soldiers into a combat zone would result in a flood of casualties. Now they've created benefits and failed to provide enough staffing to process the benefits. The process of fully supporting any commitment we make needs to involve a lot more analysis than is currently the case. This is not just an Obama or Bush issue - it's a failure of government at all levels to analyze the probable impacts of decisions.

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