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New GI Bill aid may be late for school

Rico Gagliano Aug 20, 2009
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New GI Bill aid may be late for school

Rico Gagliano Aug 20, 2009
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TEXT OF STORY

Steve Chiotakis: Military veterans heading to college are getting some help through the “Post-9/11 GI Bill,” which kicked in this month. It provides more tuition assistance than the old bill, plus some housing and living expenses. But at least some veterans may not get that money in time for the start of the school year. Here’s Marketplace’s Rico Gagliano.


Rico Gagliano: The problem: a logjam of GI Bill applications at the Veterans’ Administration. How many? A widely reported number from the VA’s Web site said it had over 200,000 quote “education work items pending.” But a VA spokesman says only 9,000 of those are GI Bill-related. Veterans groups don’t seem worried. Even if some tuition checks are delayed. Jerry Newberry is with the group Veterans of Foreign Wars.

JERRY NEWBERRY: It’s our understanding that many campuses are going to bend over backward to assist the veteran.

That’s the case at the University of California, Los Angeles. Nancy Coolidge is a coordinator of financial support there. She says the school already has contingency plans for hundreds of student vets.

NANCY COOLIDGE: Those individuals will be allowed to register for classes and enroll without actually producing money to pay their fees and tuition, pending the arrival of their benefits from the Veterans’ Administration.

Of course, that means UCLA would have to temporarily do without that cash in its budget, which was already hit by the state’s economic crisis. And Coolidge says she doesn’t expect the VA’s money to show up for a few months.

In Los Angeles, I’m Rico Gagliano for Marketplace.

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