WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A UNCW student who was initially told his education would be paid for under the Post 9/11 GI Bill is now being told he needs to pay up.
Ian Burns served in the Marine Corps as a military dog handler, working with bomb sniffing dogs while in Iraq.
“Of course it was pretty scary finding explosives with your dog and typically whatever you did, you tried to get away from them as quickly as possible,” Burns said.
After more than four years in the Corps, Burns decided to study Criminology at UNCW, transferring hours from a school in South Carolina.
“Once my obligation was completed, I decided that I accomplished everything I wanted in the military and that I wanted to return to school and finish up my degree,” Burns said.
Under the Post 9/11 GI Bill, he was told his education would be completely covered.
“I don’t feel that as a veteran I have this huge sense of entitlement,” Burns said. “Obviously that’s a really nice benefit and up until this point it’s been really great to have it so far.”
But a few months ago, Congress voted a new GI Bill into effect, which removes the benefits for veterans attending out-of-state schools and those going to private schools.
Burns received an e-mail from UNCW this week saying because of the changes, he would have to pay $5,500 a semester to continue his education.
“So for them to change it when students are in the middle of getting their degrees and for me, you know being so close to being finished, it’s just frustrating that they would change that at the last minute,” Burns said.
Burns has one semester left at UNCW and hopes to finish up next December. He hopes he will be available for in-state tuition in August.