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Proposed GI Bill would help veterans pay for college

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Buffalo: Proposed GI Bill would help veterans pay for college
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After serving their country for years, it seems like going back to school would be a bit easier for veterans. But some say, it can be just as hard, if not harder, partly because of the rules when it comes to tuition payments. YNN's Katie Morse tells why, and how one proposed bill could help change that.

They put their lives on the line to serve our country, but when they come home, veterans trying to get an education face plenty of red tape when it comes to tuition payments.

The current GI Bill pays a veteran's state school tuition, but only in the state they're residents of. The problem is, many of them don't end up where they started.

"I started out in Buffalo, went to California, went back to Hawaii, went to Australia, Alaska and Panama, stationed in Fort Drum," said student veteran Stephen Hunter.

That's why ECC officials are putting their support behind the new GI Bill Tuition Fairness Act of 2013. The bill would allow out of state residents to attend schools like ECC at in-state prices, instead of the way things are now.

"Right now, there's a SUNY tuition bill rule or regulation that says if a veteran's not from Buffalo, we have to charge them double, because they're outside Erie County and they're outside the State of New York," said ECC President Jack Quinn.

That's forced a number of student veterans to turn to food pantries and other outside help just to get by. They say the bill passing would mean big changes for them, as they work to complete their college degrees.

"The bill would allow us to be able to support our families. Feed our children, pay our rent, public transportation to get to school so we can pursue a higher education, so we can get off the public assistance," said student veteran Regina Wiley.

The bill is currently assigned to a congressional committee. It has the support of Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand - as well as Representatives Chris Collins and Brian Higgins.

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