Posted : Tuesday Sep 15, 2009 16:30:29 EDT
The Veterans Affairs Department is thanking colleges and universities for being patient about waiting for tuition payments for people using the Post-9/11 GI Bill, warning that it could take another six to eight weeks to completely catch up. In the meantime, schools and veterans will continue to wait on their payments. “I realize the learning curve has been steep for us all, and assure you we continue to work to make the process smoother and quicker,” VA Undersecretary Patrick Dunne, a retired Navy rear admiral, said in a letter sent out Sept. 11. “Thank you for your understanding and you support of our nation’s veterans.” The new education benefits program, in which tuition and fee payments go directly to institutions of higher learning while allowances for books and living expenses go directly to students, took effect Aug. 1. About 260,000 students have applied for payments, but tuition payments have been made for only about 12,000 eligible beneficiaries, while about 8,000 have received living stipends. Dunne’s letter said a complicated two-step approval process is causing the delay. The process involves first certifying eligibility and then enrollment.