VRAP Debt Trap Follow-up

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Broke Calculator Shows Credit Trouble And Debt

Two weeks ago, I wrote about how VRAP became a debt trap for veterans and wanted to circle back around to publish comments of a few readers.

Initially, VRAP was lauded by Congress and the Obama Administration as being the silver bullet to fix the crisis of veteran unemployment. Eligible unemployed veterans, aged 35-60, were to get a living stipend while attending vocational school for training into a suitable career. Tens of thousands of veterans applied and over $800 million in taxpayer dollars were pumped into the vocational education system.

Unfortunately, VRAP turned into a typical big government bureaucratic bust. Many unemployed veterans were unable to complete their programs without running into red tape boondoggles. Instead of VRAP helping unemployed veterans, it created more debt strapped veterans than ever before.

A few veteran readers wrote in about their experiences after the post two weeks ago, and I thought it was a good time to share their brief stories and thoughts here:

Cathy S. wrote: “The instructions were to all who applied not to borrow any money. I didn’t and those I know didn’t – so…..these schools in their haste to become qualified institutions pressured potential students into taking loans that actually supported the schools agenda.”

Isabell B. wrote: “I qualified for VRAP but could not find affordable schools which knew they could charge far more and take advantage of the VRAP. Thus, I would have gone into debt. The local tech schools had programs for fields of interest and approved by VRAP; however, very few full time programs. Thus, I did not use the VRAP and lost out on that benefit.”

Darlene M. wrote: “Congress delayed approvals funding requirements did not match with most school certificate programs schedules or timelines and SSA interface failed. Good intent Bad execution. Typical of what has been happening with a lot of programs.”

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10 Comments

  1. I HAVE A FEW FRIENDS THAT TOOK ADVANTAGE OF THIS PROGRAM, BUT THEY HAD TO DROP OUT OF AFTER CARE. I FREQUENTLY TALK TO THEM AND THINGS SEEM TO BE MOVING ALONG SMOOTHLY. I PRAY THAT ALL WHJO ARE IN VRAP WIL MAKE THE MOST OF THE OPPORTUNITY WITHOUT TOO MUCH “INCONVENIENCE”.

  2. VRAP HAD AN END DATE, MARCH 31, 2014.
    SO, IF YOU WERE APPROVED BUT THE CLASSES ALL HAD BEEN FILLED, NOTHING ACCOMPLISHED UNTIL THE NEXT SEMESTER. AND SINCE IT IS A PRORATED DEAL, YOU’VE GOT TO HAVE CASH UP FRONT FOR SCHOOL TUITION AND BOOKS. AND THEN YOU DEAL WITH VA REPS WHO DON’T KNOW THEIR JOB, BUT SURE ENJOY TALKING TO NON VA PERSONS WHO VISIT. OVER AND OVER AGAIN, I ASKED WHY MUST I RETAKE A COMPUTER COURSE. ANSWER BECAUSE THE LAW WAS CHANGED. WELL, I GUESS NO ONE BUT ME READ THE LAW, IF YOU HAD MORE THAN 30 CREDIT HOURS YOU WERE EXEMPT. WASTE OF MY TIME AND A WASTE OF THE VRAP MONEY!

    • Good for you Denise, I get myself in so much trouble because I also read things like that and when I bring them up I’m usually met with “you think you know everything that,s going on and you don’t know anything that,s happening” OK if that’s what you think. Then I get to prove you wrong. That has some enjoyment to it. There’s not much you can do in the VA system that you actually come out on top but then they find another way to get you, which I have to deal with now. But that’s another story. Oh and I used to work as a work-study in the VA Education office while I was in Ch. 31 (worked there for 2 1/2 years) and we had a very knowledgeable VA rep. He retired while I was working there and I applied for the job, after all, I was currently working there and knew all that was going on within the VA system for the Education part. I had done everything except the actual certifying part. My college selected a math instructor over me because he had just been laid-off and knew nothing about the VA Education Dept. The college actually hired me for a month to teach him how to do the job. I did it only because I wanted the Veterans’ to continue to get the best treatment they could. When I came back for the VRAP part, they had changed how they ran the office and now you register for your classes (you could register for any class you wanted they did not care because they would let the VA catch you) and you sign the paper and you were done. They did not care one bit about the Vet. I could not believe it. But that is how the college wanted the VA Dept. ran so that is what they did. No one put up a fight and now the Veteran numbers are way down from when I started there. The Vets’ said they were tired of getting screwed over.

  3. I am currently in the VRAP problem. I have this quarter and summer Quarter to complete my program. The VRAP ending has now put this and me in a very bad spot. I am trying to say in the program and complete it as I am so close to finishing it; however, because of my class times (and they change each quarter) it is very, very hard to even find a part-time job that will allow me to pay the bills. I could take out a student loan but then I would be in more debt and have another bill to worry about.
    Why didn’t they continue to pay for the one’s that were still enrolled in college so we could finish and get a better job. Oh yeah, that would make sense. We can’t have that. That’s not allowed in the VA system (including the health part as well). I feel as is I am going to have to drop out and try to get a so-so job that will not get me what I was hoping for and all that money the VRAP has paid out to me will be wasted but that is the same with many other vet’s I know. Many have already done so in my college and I may be the last one still trying to get this done. I have e-mailed every important person I think I can to try and get some type of help so I can finish this. This was a stupid thing to do and I knew when I started that I would have these two quarters to deal with. I was hoping that something would happen like I just stated and the VA would allow currently enrolled veterans’ with a GPA over 2.5 (or 2.0) to finish their intended program with pay to allow the veteran the ability to better him/herself in the job market. I guess the VA would rather throw money away then to see us succeed. Such a shame and a waste but that’s the VA.

  4. I applied to VRAP here is Gainesville, Florida. I got a letter from the VA Regional Office in Muskogee, Oklahoma (not the VARO here in Florida), advising me that since I was “currently incarcerated” that I did not qualify for the program. I replied inviting the VA to come visit me in my 2-bedroom apartment/prison cell, and also asked them to call my HUD-VASH case manager and ask her what she thought of me being in prison while under a HUD-VASH voucher and living in an apartment while under a Prison Sentence.
    The VA in Wash, DC is run by a bunch of sons, daughter, friends and relatives of other politically-connected Schmucks who have never worked in the private sector but know how to screw the taxpayers and veterans and their families by pretending they know what they are doing. I think that most people who work for the federal government are they type who have nothing in the way of skills obtained through hard work. They simply pretend to be doing things to help veterans when in fact most of what VACO and the VISN executive staffers do is “dishonor the most honorable” members of our nation by their deliberate efforts to demoralize the veteran community and make their lives miserable. I don’t believe a single word I read in the many VA press releases.

  5. The VA has lied so habitually and shamelessly over the past years and decades that I am of the view that most of the VACO employees and staffers are dyed-in-the wool communists masquerading under the disguise of being “progressive” Democrats, which we all know means Socialist Liberals. In fact, a Virginia lawyer told me that the majority of the VACO executive staff (SES) and many more under them are admitted socialists who do all they can to frustrate reforms and demoralize and disenfranchise America’s Veteran Community. When you see it that way, its the only thing that makes any sense to explain the mountain of abuses and “alleged” incompetence.

  6. I already had a BS so getting more cash to clear up a few more classes seemed to be a good thing. In the 12 months of class time I managed to knock out an AA in Accounting and another one in Business. When I finished I called the VA for that ‘job placement’ they offered. No one knew anything about it. Finally, I got a contact number in the DOL (since they ran the thing, while VA just administered the Vet part.) DOL simply pointed me back to the local Job Connect. Great job placement. Now, I’m over-educated for entry level jobs and don’t have the experience for anything above that. Worked well for me…

  7. VRAP was the VA’s idea of throwing a bone to the vets who still haven’t received GI educational benefits (pre-MGIB.) If you tried “giving” that consultation prize instead the pay-you-to-go-to-college degree to the MGIB era vets and later, another Civil War would have started. Can we finally organize and demand that we receive the same educational benefits as the other eras? Some guys have served 10 years, with no educational benefits to date!

  8. Worked out great for me. If you are smart enough to stick to the requirements, and navigate through the proper channels, then you either have anything to grow about. I graduated, and make more money now, than in have ever made in my life…#turbinegeneratormechanic

  9. Sorry about the typos…I corrected them…

    Worked out great for me. If you are smart enough to stick to the requirements, and navigate through the proper channels, then you either have nothing to gripe about. I graduated, and make more money now, than I have ever made in my life…#turbinegeneratormechanic

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