Wednesday, June 29, 2005

The Village Voice notes that the U.S. Army is reminding potential enlistees of a lucrative benefit:

... the army, after its fourth straight month of recruitment shortfalls, has begun broadcasting a new series of TV ads. They feature young people telling their folks about the education benefits -- up to $70,000 for college or $65,000 to repay student loans....

Problem is, it doesn't always work out:

Tony Allwein, now 24, graduated from Catholic school in 1999 and attended the Pennsylvania College of Technology, a public technical affiliate of Penn State, for three years, where he studied computer programming. He was putting himself through with student loans....

"That recruiter sat in our living room and promised the whole family that these loans would be taken care of in full," [his mother] Kathy says, her voice steely. "In his contract it was stated that they would take care of them." In Iraq, Tony served as a rear gunner on a convoy, for a month or two lacking much needed body armor. His active duty ends in November 2006 and he is eligible to be called back for four years after that. And just last month, his family found out that his loans would not be repaid by the U.S. government. Not one cent.

There's a catch, you see:

The fine print states that since Anthony's loans came from from a private lender, not the government's guaranteed federal student loan program, they weren't covered.... Kathy said her family, which almost certainly would have been eligible for federal loans, was not aware of the difference when Tony went to school.

...A military source did confirm the details of Allwein's story, though, including that Anthony's contract stated the loans would be repaid.

I'd say common decency requires our military recruiters to make sure potential enlistees and their families have no misconceptions about this. And I'd also say it's no surprise that the recruiters are so afraid to lose any potential recruit these days that they figure it's OK to let the poor SOB figure out what happened only when the kid's in-country getting shot at.

No comments: