Shortly after ITT Educational Services announced it would close all of its ITT Technical campuses across the country, the Department of Education swooped in to try to placate students’ concerns by announcing that it would forgive currently or recently enrolled students’ federal student loans. While the process to wipe out that debt will no doubt be complicated and take time, former students who used veteran benefits — like the GI Bill — will likely be waiting longer and have more hurdles to jump through.
Cleveland.com reports that there were about 7,000 veterans attending ITT Tech schools when the company collapsed.
While federal student loans can be discharged through the Department of Education, any additional aid provided through the Department of Veterans Affairs is currently in limbo.
That’s because, under VA rules, once veteran education benefits are used, they’re gone, you can’t get them back. And legislation that would have changed that stipulation — at least for ITT students — failed to pass muster Wednesday evening, Cleveland.com reports.
The bill, introduced by Sen. Sherrod Brown (OH), would have directed the VA not to count VA funds used for ITT against a veteran’s student aid limit.
However, to do that, the VA would have to pull funds from other programs, and some legislators didn’t see that as a viable option.
“We can say that we’re authorizing the VA to pay for it, but what are they going to do?” Sen. Thom Tillis (NC) said. “We haven’t provided them with any funds to do it, so what potentially suffers as a result?”
When ITT Tech closed its doors, the Dept. of Education noted that veterans should have received a letter from the VA outlining their options.
One such resource is the Veterans Student Loan Relief Fund, which provides an array of potential options for these students.
For example, if students acted quickly to transfer to a new school, they may have preserved their remaining months of GI Bill eligibility and avoid the possibility of any break in housing allowance.
For now, any actual legislative action will be put on hold as Congress leaves for a break. Still, proponents of the bill believe it could be discussed and voted on in December.
Veterans harmed by ITT Tech’s closing can’t get congressional help yet [Cleveland.com]
Source: ITT TECH