Ryan Wiekhorst owes the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs $5,000. He said the money was paid in error when he enrolled in college courses that weren't eligible for veterans' benefits, and when a number of his classes where canceled.
On Monday night, Pima Community College held the second of two forums to assist students like Wiekhorts, who have received debt notices from the VA.
“And now they’re asking for all my money back," Wiekhorst said. "That they gave me to go to school. And I already spent it all. And now they’re threatening to take my paychecks and whatnot.”
Wiekhorst was among a handful of students waiting to meet with school representatives last night to get assistance filling out waiver forms that might wipe their debts clean.
PCC has been under fire since reports emerged of its failure to notify the VA when students quit, or made changes that affected their tuition and fees. This resulted in many vets receiving an overpayment of benefits.
The school was banned from enrolling new student vets for two months – that ban was lifted in May.
Another student, Daryn Herzberg transferred to the University of Phoenix when he found out this spring that Pima wouldn’t be able to accept his veterans' benefits during the ban.
C.J. Karamargin, PCC spokesperson, said the informational session is one sign that the school is making strides in fixing the problem, but it will take time.
"This problem didn’t happen over night, and it won’t be fixed over night," he said.
Around 1,400 student vets attend Pima each semester.