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Checks Delayed For The New G.I. Bill

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Aired 9/22/09

The new GI Bill promises veterans more generous education benefits than the old one. But, because of last minute delays, neither students nor public universities have seen any money yet.

The new G.I. Bill promises veterans more generous education benefits than the previous one. But, because of last minute delays, neither students nor public universities have yet seen any money.

More than 300 veterans that enrolled in courses at San Diego State University under the new G.I. Bill are still waiting for their checks. The benefit includes $2,000 a month for living expenses and a book allowance.

Twenty-four-year-old Alex Greenlee is studying international business after five years in the Marine Corps.

“I have $70 left in my checking account,” he says. “I’m hoping that October 1st they’ll send a check to me, otherwise it’s going to be a pretty ugly couple of months.”

Joan Putnam, veteran coordinator for SDSU, says some students quit jobs to start studying because they expected to live on the benefits promised in the G.I. Bill. She says California’s public universities charge fees, not tuition, and that has caused technical hold-ups in the process of applying for the grants.

“Everybody was trying very hard to fit a square peg into a round hole,” she says. “But because of the delays, our students will get their checks, probably even later than other students.”

Putnam says a letter from the VA earlier this month suggested about 170,000 claims, or nearly half the claims for the new G.I. Bill benefit nationally, are yet to be processed.

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