Students attending the University of Arizona Global Campus using GI Bill benefits won’t see any disruption in their tuition or housing payments after school officials this week fixed what they called a “bureaucratic snafu,” which halted their ability to accept the federal funds.
Last month, more than 3,000 student veterans at the school (formerly known as Ashford University) were told they could no longer use GI Bill benefits to pay for classes after a California approving agency revoked the institution’s license.
UAGC officials at the time characterized the issue as minor, saying they were completing steps needed to be reauthorized in Arizona, allowing them to continue to accept the federal education benefits.
But following the California move, both school and VA officials were forced to issue statements promising that student veterans in the middle of studies at UAGC would have their tuition costs covered through the end of the spring semester.
This week, the Arizona State Approving Agency finalized its work on the school’s application, once again allowing them to receive GI Bill payouts.
“The approval means that current and prospective students will again be eligible to utilize VA education benefits at UAGC, including course tuition and fees and monthly housing allowance,” school officials said in a statement.
“Affected students who started classes in April … will be back certified by UAGC for course tuition and fees. The monthly housing allowance also will be covered for these students. Therefore, UAGC expects no interruption to student benefits, classes, or costs.”
VA officials confirmed that in a note to students on Monday, stating “there will be no gap in your GI Bill benefits coverage” thanks to the changes.
Despite the resolution, outside advocates said they remain concerned about what led up to the approval problem and past operations by UAGC officials.
Officials from Veterans Education Success — a frequent critic of for-profit colleges — said numerous students reached out to them in recent weeks with complaints about how the situation was handled and the stress that resulted from the temporary GI Bill lapse.
The group is calling for a full review by Arizona officials into UAGC, pointing to past legal judgements against Ashford University for fraud and misrepresentation.
UAGC officials said they have been in compliance with all relevant state rules throughout the recent problems, and blamed the funding lapse on bureaucratic confusion regarding “the move of the UAGC main campus from California to Arizona.”
Students with questions about the GI Bill payments or other financial support from the department can contact VA’s Education Call Center at 888-442-4551.
Leo covers Congress, Veterans Affairs and the White House for Military Times. He has covered Washington, D.C. since 2004, focusing on military personnel and veterans policies. His work has earned numerous honors, including a 2009 Polk award, a 2010 National Headliner Award, the IAVA Leadership in Journalism award and the VFW News Media award.