INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Following the closure of ITT Tech, hundreds of Hoosier veterans are now scrambling to figure out how they’ll pay for college.
Right now, if a vet uses their G.I. benefits at a school that disappears, like ITT Tech, those benefits disappear too.
So while other students may get their loans returned, veterans don’t have it so easy. That recipe may be changing though.
“It seemed like somebody just snapped their fingers and before I knew it, I’m not going to be going to school,” said Jason Nyikos, a veteran and former ITT Tech student.
Like 7,000 other veterans from 130 ITT Tech campuses, Nyikos’ G.I. benefits have disappeared like his enrollment.
“Once the VA cuts those checks to these education facilities that’s it, that’s not refundable by current law. Infuriated, enraged, ticked-off, a lot of words come to mind, let down, disappointed, just shocked,” he said.
He’s out 19 months of benefits for 70 credits that, to make everything worse, aren’t even being accepted at other schools he’s applying to.
“I’d like to see that 19 months go right back onto my G.I. bill,” he said.
“If we really care about them, we need to do something about it. That’s why we brought this legislation forward,” said Indiana Congressman, Luke Messer (R – District 6).
Congress this week considered an amendment to the G.I. bill that would start the benefits over in circumstances like ITT Tech’s closure. A move that would give vets full access to the resources they need to re-enroll at another school. Messer is spearheading the $50-100 million bill.
“My goal is to get this passed by the end of the year because our veterans need our help now. Many of them will lose their housing stipend by the end of the year if we’re not able to get this done. I’m not going to tell you it’s going to be easy but we’re optimistic we can get it done,” he said.
Messer is hoping to have the legislation added to the end of the year fiscal bill. If not, veterans like Nyikos will have to wait until next year, in hopes it passes then.