NEW YORK -- Earlier this year, we introduced you to Cameron Baker, a 27-year-old veteran of the U.S. Air Force. He's currently attending Columbia University on the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill. In exchange for his military service, the newly revamped G.I. Bill promised to cover his educational expenses.
But everything changed in December of last year when Congress voted to amend the enhanced G.I. Bill by capping tuition assistance for out-of-state residents and matching them to in-state public rates. Veterans like Baker who attend private schools will now face a $17,500 cap on tuition.
Over the past two months, both Rep. Jeff Miller (R-Fla.) and Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) have introduced pieces of legislation aimed at grandfathering in veterans currently enrolled in private schools whose tuition would skyrocket. Miller's office estimates that such caps could affect as many as 30,000 veterans come August.
In mid-May, Miller's bill made it through the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs. Schumer's bill now awaits a markup with the Senate's Veterans' Affairs Committee, which is chaired by Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.). That markup is scheduled for tomorrow.
Listen to Baker describe how the passage of Miller and Schumer's legislation will affect his ability to remain at Columbia and finish his college degree. Unless the existing law is amended, he and thousands of other veterans will face a difficult set of decisions. If he isn't grandfathered in, Baker faces between $50,000 and $60,000 in student loans. For Baker, going into debt isn't an option.