The cause of the difficulty lies within VA’s Office of Information Technology, which was tasked with implementing a change to how the housing allowance was calculated, the agency said. The Forever GI Bill required that housing would be based on the ZIP code of where a veteran went to school, not where he or she lived.
Issues that arose when VA attempted to stress-test their antiquated system, and a contract dispute over the new changes, meant VA waited until July 16 to tell schools to begin enrolling students, according to multiple veteran advocacy groups. Many colleges and universities waited, however, because VA told them that they would need to reenter their student veterans’ certifying information either way.
“That’s when the floodgates opened,” said Patrick Murray, the deputy director of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. “With all the delays trying to get the upgrades in the ZIP code processing, they suddenly got all their enrollments, which usually come during the spring across the summer. Instead they all came a few weeks before the fall semester, and they couldn’t keep up.”