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Bennet Discusses Student Life, New GI Bill with CSU Vets

Grace Hood

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has come a long way in administering government scholarship money for veterans. That was one of the conclusions from a roundtable held by Democratic Senator Michael Bennet today on the Colorado State University campus in Fort Collins.

Sen. Bennet met with student veterans to learn about the challenges and opportunities facing the group. CSU created a center for returning veterans several years ago, and stepped up its outreach efforts after Congress passed the Post 9/11 GI Bill in 2009. Bennet said the school’s focus on veterans is making a difference.

“The center they’ve established here clearly has created a much more seamless reentry for people than they had before,” he said. “It’s something I’d like to see all across the state.”

CSU veterans discussed challenges re-entering school and civilian life, and how the Post 9/11 GI Bill could be improved. When it first became available to veterans in 2009 students waited months for scholarship funds to appear. Today that wait time is between two to six weeks depending on whether a student is new or returning.

But student veteran Andrew Cole said there’s still room for improvement. For example, he said it’s hard to keep tabs on which payments are for books or other living expenses.  

“I don’t know what it’s for because it shows up as ‘Chapter 33’. If they were able to be more specific [with payments] it would help a lot of questions that come to the office,” he said.

Veteran enrollment has increased about 25 percent over the past year for Colorado State University.