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Photo: Lauren Chapman/IPB News
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Photo: Steve Burns
Federal legislation that takes effect this week will restore GI Bill benefits to 7,000 veterans affected by the closure of ITT Tech. U.S. Rep. Luke Messer (R-Ind.) met with some of those veterans in Greenfield Monday.
The law, the Forever GI Bill, allows veterans to seek benefits at any point in their lifetime and increases education funding. Messer’s provision restores benefits to veterans affected by ITT Technical Institute and Corinthian College closures after August 1, 2015. ITT Tech was shutdown due to multiple state and federal investigations.
Messer says the measure will help about 1,000 students who attended any of the six Indiana campuses that closed.
“It was never fair that our veterans who had earned GI Bill benefits would lose them because ITT Tech closed,” Messer says. “They didn’t cause ITT Tech to close and so it was only fair that we do something about it.”
But the measure doesn’t help people like Joseph Couden-Case, who were enrolled in the school before 2015. He heard about issues with accreditation and saw teachers leaving before he left himself in 2011. Couden-Case says he joined the discussion to bring attention to the stories of veterans who left ITT Tech before the closure but are still affected.
“For us that this has already happened to we’re stranded and pretty much in the dark,” Couden-Case says. “I see the big picture and we’re not mentioned in this new bill.”
Couden-Case almost completed his bachelor’s degree at ITT Tech, but when he left, only a quarter of his credits transferred to the University of Phoenix. He hopes legislation will be implemented that covers all veterans who were affected by the closing.
The VA plans to notify those who may qualify for benefit restoration in the coming weeks.