“When you get the news that someone can pay for your entire college, you're not worrying about anything else," Bigbee said. "I felt safe."
The Post-9/11 G.I. Bill, which was established in August of 2009, is a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) administered program that pays for college courses or on-the-job training for active military members. Military members could transfer it to spouses and dependents.According to the VA, members who have served six years in the military are eligible, but must sign an additional four years of service at the time of transfer, which is what Watson said he did for his daughter in 2012.
“The plan was go through school on his G.I. bill and then complete whatever degree that I had to complete to get a better life,” Bigbee said as she recollected her goals.After, Bigbee set out to California and attended a Santa Monica community college for three years. She said she took several classes in forensic science, psychology and sociology. She told First Coast News that her goal was to work and help people.
When it came to paying for tuition, Bigbee received regular statements from the VA. Each would say “you are entitled to receive 100 percent of benefits.”Bigbee was a carefree and debt-free college student… until 2015.