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The BG News
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November 30, 2023

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Veterans may face hurdles to pay tuition with GI Bill

Military veterans who have to wait on their monthly GI Bills to pay education costs may not have to wait forever now that Undergraduate Student Government Sen. Kevin Stevens is working on a plan of attack.

At last week’s USG meeting, Stevens pointed out what he considers to be a void in BGSU’s payment collections – currently, there’s no payment program to assist military veterans.

Stevens is a veteran himself, in the U.S. Air Force for two-and-a-half years, and now serves in the Toledo Air National Guard as part of security forces.

Many veterans like Stevens receive what they call a GI Bill each month for their service in the military, and use that money to pay for their college education.

The problem with this payment system, according to Stevens, is that veterans receive their payments in monthly increments, but the University collects tuition all at once.

Stevens’ idea is that solving the problem calls for changing the way BGSU collects bills from veterans who are enrolled.

“Everyone pays to go to school here; I don’t think it matters how,” he said.

Each month, the government sends veterans who are enrolled full-time $1,034, which often isn’t enough to pay bills like tuition at the beginning of the semester.

The University’s Office of the Bursar has yet to address the issue, and Nancy Colsman, BGSU’s bursar, couldn’t comment on the issue for this story, but said her office will be looking into it.

Any change in the current payment plan would have to take into consideration the capabilities of BGSU’s billing system, and also perhaps the government’s policy on payment.

That may result in totally different plans for veterans and for other students, but Stevens’ goal isn’t to place a higher value on students who have served in the military.

“I’m not saying that vets are better than anyone else; I just think that they have different needs,” he said.

Anxious to change the system and give veterans another option, Stevens won’t settle this spring for anything but the best for his fellow veterans.

“I find it hard to believe that they can’t find a way to work together with veterans,” he said. “It is something that I have had to deal with personally.”

On Friday, USG President Aaron Shumaker said that the change could take some time.

“It may be a while before we hear anything,” he said.

Stevens has had to take out student loans in order to pay for his tuition up front, and believes that other student veterans are having the same problem.

Jim McCarthy, senior, has been a member of the Ohio Air National Guard for more than four-and-a-half years, and also receives a monthly GI Bill. He’s never heard of any concerns over the payment system from fellow veterans, and can’t complain himself.

“I’ve never had any issues with the way things are now,” he said.

Just in the beginning stages, Stevens’ next step will be speaking with Colsman in the Bursar Office on where they go from here with the GI Bill.

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