September 17, 2021

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Howard University Offers Loans to Student Vets in Limbo After School Lost GI Bill Eligibility

Editor’s Note: This article was updated when students reached out to Military.com to say they had not received any notice of the loan offer outlined by Howard University.

Howard University offers student veterans a $ 3,000 interest-free loan Military.com investigation announced that the school has lost its accreditation for new students GI invoice Pay benefits for their education. The investigation also uncovered a pattern of mishandled paperwork for veterans that resulted in some having difficulty paying their expenses.

Students must repay the loan by December 14th. Some have blown the school’s loan program, stating that they will not be able to pay it off if they do not receive their GI Bill benefits, and are writing down the school’s history of helping veterans with problems accessing those payments.

“If I wanted to live in debt, I wouldn’t [have] went into the military and got a student loan, “said Tiahna Pantovich, an army Veteran said Military.com. “I can’t imagine that every hit, every tank of gas, every grocery store knows that I have a cloud over me to repay.”

Pantovich said she had not been contacted about the loan offer Howard University described to Military.com. Of the four student veterans who spoke to Military.com, two said they had been contacted and two said they had not.

In April, Howard University’s District of Columbia State Approving Agency (SAA) revoked the ability to allow newly enrolled student veterans to use their GI Bill benefits. The decision went into effect on June 15, triggering a 60-day window that closed on Sunday.

“Since we assume that the interruption of the veteran allowance for some students will be resolved shortly, the aim will be for the students to repay the advance payment as soon as the VA scholarships are processed again and are available by the end of the semester,” Frank Tramble, a spokesman for Howard University, told Military.com.

Continue reading: “We have left the people who helped us”: Veterinarians are fighting with emotions over the case of Afghanistan

Meanwhile, 57 student veterans signed a petition to the school’s senior administrators urging Howard to do more than extend the loans – such as tuition and fees for affected students for the spring 2021 and fall 2021 semesters and spring 2022.

August 2021, just five days before the fall semester 2021 begins, military students don’t yet know whether they will receive their education allowance, which is a school book grant and monthly housing allowance (in addition to tuition fees and fees), which will have a dramatic effect on the livelihood of these students. ” it in the petition penned by Leana Mason, op Marine Corps Veteran and Ph.D. Candidate. “Many students have to search for alternative options without the support of an institution that promises truth and service.”

Instead of a loan they may not be able to repay, the student veterans also ask the school to compensate them through a grant or scholarship for money they may miss if they do not get their benefits.

They are also requesting the school to hire a new Veterans Services Liaison Office or hire veterans to assist with handling the VA-related paperwork.

It is unclear what caused the DC SAA to revoke Howard’s authority. Tramble told Military.com that it was a paperwork snafu resulting from new filing rules that the SAA did not report to the school in a timely manner. However, no other school in the DC area has lost its GI Bill credentials.

SAAs have powers from the Veterans Affairs Department To check schools for their compliance with the law and whether the institution achieves certain minimum qualities. The goal is to ensure that the GI Act, one of the most costly federal benefit programs, is not wasted on fraudulent schools or institutions with weak credentials.

Withdrawal of GI Bill credentials from a school displaces student veterans and cuts off an important stream of financial support for their education. SAAs usually reserve the right to suspend themselves in extreme cases. Tough action against an otherwise prestigious school is also rare.

Classes with Howard begin Monday, and the DC SAA has not responded to multiple requests from Military.com for comment. The SAA has powers to extend the suspension, including the ban on veterans previously eligible to use services at the school and the duration of the suspension. When several employees who played a role in the files relating to Howard’s suspension were reached by phone, they said they were not allowed to speak to the press.

If Howard is not approved to accept the GI Bill benefits in the next week, senior students will lose their rent and book scholarships, and some will have to find a new school.

While the move only affects new student veterans coming to Howard, Military.com spoke to several students whose performance was paused or suspended after the school described them as typographical errors, such as: B. the incorrect reporting of their main subjects to the VA. In at least one case, a veteran has been evicted from her home after losing her housing benefit, which can be around $ 2,000 a month in the DC area.

“We have provided all of the information requested,” Tramble told Military.com. “They [D.C. SAA] did not state that our status has not changed in any way while they are reviewing the VA and awaiting approval. “

– Steve Beynon can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @StevenBeynon.

Related: Mistakes cost student vets GI bill benefits. Now Howard University is trying to save VA funding

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