Testimony of Veteran Kolin Wilkins
U.S. Education Department’s Negotiated Regulatory Rulemaking Panel
My name is Kolin Wilkins. I medically retired from the US Army in 2015 and currently live in Texas. I enrolled at Vista College to earn my certificate in Medical Insurance Coding and Billing. I chose this school over others because I was promised a clear pipeline to get a job. I have a family to consider so I did this to support them and our future.
Leading up to the shut down, I had no idea it was coming. No one gave the impression it was happening or prepared us for what would happen after it closed. I attended classes up until the very last day, just a few weeks from graduating. Then on a Saturday afternoon, I got a text message that said the school was shutting down, telling me “it’s over.” No other information was given to us, no resources or contact information.
The change in plans has really impacted my life and my family’s. I felt like I had the rug cut from under me. It’s heartbreaking and discouraging. The process was poorly handled and left students hanging. One of the most difficult things about this is that I was so close to finishing. But now, I’ve lost over 20 months of my GI Bill, no degree, and I can’t get a hold of my transcripts.
I requested to have my GI Bill restored by the VA, but it hasn’t been approved yet.
I reached out to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to get a copy of my transcripts, but haven’t heard back from them either.
I wanted to share my story with you today because while I and others wait for GI Bill restoration, loan forgiveness, or to request transcripts, all of our plans are put on hold. Everything I planned around this school just ended and the students and their families are left stranded to pick up the pieces on their own. There must be a better way to protect us from the aftermath.
Thank you for letting me share here today.Testimony of Veteran Kolin Wilkins