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Published: Friday, 8/31/2012

More than 20,000 veterans in Ohio may not get college assistance

BLADE STAFF

More than 20,000 post 9/11 veterans in Ohio who receive benefits to attend college from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs may not be getting a check next month.

The VA said the delays are a result of both a backlog in processing claims and a “temporary loss” of some student veterans’ records.

Gov. John Kasich, Ohio Chancellor Jim Petro, and Col. Thomas N. Moe, director of the Ohio Department of Veterans Services today asked colleges and universities to be flexible and hold student veterans harmless while the problems are worked out.

“In the GI Bill, Ohio’s student veterans were made a promise by their nation,” Mr. Kasich said in a statement. “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.”

Bowling Green State University, which has 284 student veterans, is offering loans to affected students to cover the lost VA benefits, said Spokesman Dave Kielmeyer.

Mike McKinney, spokesman for the Ohio Department of Veterans Services, said the VA said it was transferring electronic records for student veterans from Ohio and West Virginia from a regional facility in Buffalo N.Y. to St. Louis and experienced a temporary loss of records.

“They’re working to resolve that,” he said. “We don’t exactly how long that will take.”



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