Dear Editor:

My name is Lucas Bowers. Between April 2006 and August 2009 I served in the U.S. Air Force in support of Operations Iraq and Enduring Freedom. I served as a military police officer (Security Force's member), and I did so honorably. After my discharge, I applied for benefits under Chapter 33 or the Post 9/11 G.I. Bill. After I was approved I enrolled in Kutztown University with the hopes of completing my education.

In the summer of 2011, I enrolled in KU's summer classes, the latter half of which were withdrawn. I, however, overpaid my housing stipend, which I paid back, via a tax return offset. I also received a bill from the Department of Veteran's Affairs stating that $1,595 was due for tuition overpayment. I then paid $700 personally and Kutztown paid $877, leaving an unpaid balance of $18 that I did neglect to pay. In April 2012, the aforementioned tax refund offset was applied, taking care of the rest of the debt ($1,100).

Today I was informed that this year's refund was also offset to the tune of $829. When I called the Department of Veterans Affairs, I was met with hostility. The "customer service" representative told me I was not going to get any information regarding the debt or payments made, which seems odd considering they have been paid $3,506 on a $1,595 debt.

From the day I found out about this debt, I haven't been about to attend Kutztown University. While there is an unpaid debt, benefits cannot be dispersed. And as for the money from this year's tax refund, like many people today I am struggling financially and that $829 would have gone a long way for me.

I personally feel abandoned by the people that are supposed to take care of veterans. But I guess a financially destitute government needs to save money somehow. Even if it means cutting off educational funds for vets.

Sincerely,

Lucas Bowers,

Tamaqua