The Iowa National Guard is behind on its student loan payments
DAVENPORT (KWWL) -
The Iowa National Guard is behind on its student loan payments, something hundreds in the organization rely on to pay for their education. And it's not just Iowa, National Guard reps tell KWQC the problem is nationwide, and it's all because of a glitch in a new computer program.
KWQC spoke to one soldier who's one of many left without the student loan payments he was promised. He agreed to speak with TV6 anonymously because he could get discharged for speaking out against the guard publicly.
He says he signed this contract with the National Guard in 2010. In it the Guard agreed to pay him $2800 a year toward his student loans.
"Now two years in, they haven't made the payment," he says.
After about three phone calls and a dozen emails, he finally got the full story, that GIMS, or the 'Guard Incentive Management System,' wasn't working.
"They said the system wasn't online yet, and they couldn't figure out how to make it to work and we just had to wait," he says.
National Guard representatives say they started using the new system in September, but because of a processing issue, no information could get put in.
They say they got the system back up and running by mid-October, but the problem has delayed them at least six weeks in processing payments.
The problem is nationwide, and they're not sure how many are affected, but there are about 600 student loan contracts in the Iowa National Guard alone.
"I just get told they're working on it, and it'll get done as soon as possible," the soldier says.
He says for many waiting six weeks or more is not an option.
"It's pretty frustrating, a lot of people sign up some for the benefits because they can't go to college, they don't have the money so their only option is to turn to the Army," he says.
"Those people still in school that were relying on that money to come in every month, they're probably on a tight budget," he adds.
Leaving soldiers without the money so many were depending on, and a contract left unfulfilled.
Soldier contracts also state that if a loan is defaulted, the National Guard will stop paying.
"The National Guard promised to pay this money in lieu of services, so they're relying on that money to pay," he says, "If I stopped showing up for drill, then they would say, ‘You signed this contract, you need to show up,' but when I say you were due to make good on this payment you promised me, then I don't get the same response."
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