PDT Staff Writer
According to information released by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs and Shawnee State University, veterans currently receiving education benefits could see a delay.
“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,” said Jim Petro, Chancellor, Ohio Board of Regents and Colonel Thomas Moe, Director of the Ohio Department of Veterans Services, in a letter to university presidents across the state. “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,” said Jim Petro, Chancellor, Ohio Board of Regents and Colonel Thomas Moe, Director of the Ohio Department of Veterans Services, in a letter to university presidents across the state.
Gov. John Kasich also asked for Ohio’s institutions of higher learning to be flexible during this process.
“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 woman 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,” Kasich said in a released statement.
Shawnee State University (SSU) has responded to the delay in benefits by making emergency funds available.
“Last week, we were notified that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs encountered a systems problem while transferring electronic records between regional offices. The issue resulted in the temporary loss of a number of eligibility certifications for Ohio and West Virginia veterans with pending college enrollments received between July 24 and August 9,” said Dr. Rita Rice Morris, President of SSU said in a released statement. “To help SSU veteran students, no late fees will be charged for students whose benefits were delayed because of the issue. Additionally, the Development Foundation has established a short-term emergency loan fund to assist veteran students experiencing financial difficulties because of the issue.”
In a letter to veterans enrolled at SSU, the university notified students that no late fees would be charged for veteran students whose benefits were delayed because of the issue. Additionally, the university’s Development Foundation established a short-term emergency loan fund to assist veteran students experiencing financial difficulties because of the issue.
“We know how important getting an education is to our veterans and we want to do everything that we can do to help them achieve their goals,” Morris said. “A vital part of our mission is making a college education accessible to the students in our region, including our veterans.”
Shawnee State has a total of 114 veterans enrolled for classes with 14 of those veterans having delays with their benefits. According to SSU, some of the 14 are expected to take advantage of the emergency funding available.
Veterans who are enrolled at Shawnee State University have been asked to contact the SSU Veteran Affairs Representative at 740-351-4441 for assistance.
Wayne Allen may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 208, or firstname.lastname@example.org.