Thursday, October 13, 2016 (Issue #1)
by Alana Branch, Veterans Affairs Editor
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One of the many benefits afforded by military veterans for their service is the GI bill, which guarantees a free education. But when ITT Technical Institutes went bankrupt early last month, veterans were up in arms—minus the M-16s and Kevlar. Not only does the GI bill cover tuition, but it helps pay rent as well.
As first reported in Market Watch, National Guard member Byron Sumpter (32) used the money—a monthly housing stipend that comes with the benefit—to pay bills. He spoke for many panic-stricken veterans when he said, “A lot of us are still hurting right now.”
According to Student Veterans of America, a student veteran advocacy organization based in D.C., approximately 12,500 students were affected by the ITT bankruptcy. The Director of Policy at SVA, Derek Fronabarger, even said that the organization received “about 15 to 25 calls a day from veterans asking for help.” Some are concerned that they’ll end up homeless because the GI bill was their primary source of income.
Among politicians who are eager for a solution is Senator Richard Blumenthal (Dem-CT), who recently stated that “these closures are devastating to many veterans not just because of the financial impact, but also the confusion and chaos it causes in their lives.”
According to the CT Mirror, marine veteran Blumenthal has always been an advocate for the United States’ veteran population and had introduced a bill back in April with a colleague from the Republican party aptly titled “The Blumenthal-Isakson Bill” that would permit Congress to oversee the Department of Veterans Affairs.
As of now, the Department of Veterans Affairs is working closely with the Department of Education to help those who are in need.