Veterans struggling to pay for school this semester

FRESNO, Calif.

Classes are in full swing at Fresno State this fall semester. And some sixty percent of the students qualified for financial aid of some kind. Others took out loans or found a part time job.

Veterans, like Brandon Reed who served in the Navy, has one. And now he's dealing with a loss in income from the GI Bill that he says... came out of the blue.

Anthony Stone said, "Not knowing this was gonna hit affected us alot."

Robyn Gutierrez, the university's Veteran's Benefits Coordinator, told us the Veterans Administration has changed how the current GI Bill awards are given out, including how the funds are designated.

Gutierrez said, "As they are trying to review the GI Bill and make it equitable for all students I just think they're trying to re-capture those inequities and make it equitable for all students behalf."

Congress has revised the post 9/11 GI Bill to insure that tuition money goes to tuition only. For several years at CSUF -- California grants for tuition fees have been awarded to qualified veterans each semester.

As many as seventy-five veterans enrolled at Fresno State, like Brandon, are now having to accept that the California grant money is gone.

"We were anticipating 12-thousand, around there," said Reed. "If we were receiving full financial benefits. And without any notice to all of us who were approved for that kind of payment that was cut in half in one day we found out."

Their bottom line... Dropped in half

Maria Hernandez, CSUF Financial Aid Director said, "There was a two year time where you could have both."

Fresno State's Financial Aid Director admits this is complicated. But the changes to the current GI Bill mandate this new bottom line.

"They're no longer eligible for both," said Hernandez. "Only one can pay their tuition. One program or the other."

While the Veterans Administration reportedly sent notices of the changes to all CSUF veterans some are just now getting the word that their checks will be smaller.

Congressional changes to the post 9/11 GI Bill have veterans at Fresno State struggling to make ends meet and still get an education.

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