Putting Veterans First, Eventually

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The College Guide earlier reported that the much-touted new GI Bill for veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan was becoming a disaster, with payment delays causing many college students severe financial difficulties.

Well, they’re working on it. The Department of Veterans Affairs announced yesterday that:

In a coordinated effort to speed up the processing of Post 9/11 GI Bill education benefits this spring, the… VA… has been reaching out to student Veterans, servicemembers, university officials and other partners to meet its commitment to an aggressive processing goal by Feb. 1, 2010. Feb. 1 is the first date spring payments are due and presently VA has processed over 72,000 of the approximately 103,000 spring enrollments received.

The department’s Acting Under Secretary for Benefits Michael Walcoff said there are “shared responsibilities between VA, universities and the students to ensure the success of processing the education benefits on time.”

The VA did not technically apologize for its poor performance last semester, though it did say the department is “working to provide timely payments to all eligible Veterans to ensure that students are spared the financial hardships which some faced during the fall 2009 term.”

Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer