Letter to USO Presidents Regarding Delay in Post 9/11 GI Bill Benefits

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Dear University & College Presidents,

We would like to bring to your attention a matter that may be affecting the Post 9/11 G.I. Bill Education Benefits of some of the student veterans enrolled at your institution. 

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs encountered a system problem while transferring electronic records between regional offices, which caused a temporary loss of a number of eligibility certifications.  These records pertained to Ohio and West Virginia veterans with pending enrollments received between July 24 and August 9.  While the VA expects to have the issue resolved at some point, we ask that you allow the affected student veterans at your school to continue with their course schedules and regular enrollment despite the temporary delay in the issuance of Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits.  The affected student veterans need to be held harmless in this situation with respect to monies to be paid to the school for education benefits, and we encourage you to be proactive in your identification of these student veterans, and be willing to rectify matters after the fact in cases where the student veteran may have been dropped due to non-payment. 

Since we don’t know the number of affected students, we ask that each institution work with its appropriate internal departments within your institution to identify these students and return an approximate number of impacted students to the Ohio Board of Regents by close of business on Tuesday, September 4, 2012. Please report this estimate to Eli Faes at efaes@regents.state.oh.us.

We strongly value the commitment and sacrifice that our student veterans have shown in their service to our country, and every measure needs to be taken to ensure that their pursuit of a higher education at our institutions is as seamless and beneficial to their educational endeavors as possible.  

Please feel free to contact Rob Breeckner at the Ohio Department of Veterans Services at 614-466-9287 and Eli Faes at the Ohio Board of Regents at 614-728-8856 with any concerns that you might have. Thank you for your understanding and commitment to our student veterans, an appreciation that they richly deserve.

With the highest regard,

 

 

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August 31, 2012
Rob Nichols, (330) 760-7582,
Rob.Nichols@Governor.Ohio.Gov

 

KASICH CALLS ON OHIO COLLEGES TO HELP VETS AS FEDERAL GI BENEFITS FACE DISRUPTION

COLUMBUS—Today Gov. John R. Kasich asked Ohio’s institutions of higher learning to provide flexibility for their students currently on the Post-9/11 GI Bill while the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs works to eliminate a backlog of claims.

“In the GI Bill, Ohio’s student veterans were made a promise by their nation. Technical problems the federal government is currently facing puts these young men and women in the unenviable position where they don’t know how they’ll pay for college, buy books, or keep a roof over their heads. It’s my hope that Ohio’s colleges and universities show flexibility and patience so we can ensure the education of our student veterans isn’t disrupted. In the meantime, I strongly recommend President Obama reallocate resources to properly manage this important program and eliminate the backlog as soon as possible,” said Kasich.

Background: Following the drawdown of troops in theater overseas, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs underwent a surge in the number of enrolled veterans receiving Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits.  This led to a significant backlog in processing claims submitted by student veterans and affects their tuition, housing, and books & supplies stipend.

This problem was exacerbated in Ohio and West Virginia when the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs encountered a system problem while transferring electronic records between regional offices. This caused a temporary loss of a number of eligibility certifications for student veterans.  These records pertained to pending enrollments received between July 24 and August 9.  

While the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs issued a statement saying they expect to have the issue resolved at some point, it’s yet to be determined when that will be.  Ohio Department of Veterans Services Colonel Thomas Moe and Ohio Board of Regents Chancellor Jim Petro have asked Ohio’s public and private colleges and universities to allow the affected student veterans to continue with their course schedules and regular enrollment despite the delay by the federal government in the issuance of Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits.  At this point, the number of impacted students is not known.

Colonel Moe and Chancellor Petro’s letter can be viewed here.

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