Voucher problem fixed for military vets at BC bookstore

Voucher problem fixed for military vets at BC bookstore

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) — Bakersfield College’s bookstore will once again allow military veterans to use special vouchers to purchase textbooks.

The store stopped taking the vouchers for at least three months, because the store was allegedly no longer receiving reimbursements from the Veterans Administration.

An Eyewitness News investigation found that the store, owned by national book retailer Barnes and Noble, had made an error, which was confirmed by Mary Ellen Keating, the company’s media representative.

“I’ve looked into this matter and found out that this was mistake on the part of our local store,” Keating said in an email. “Our policy is never to put any Veteran’s Administration program on hold, because it would put the men and women who serve our country at a disadvantage. We have rectified the situation and apologize for this mistake.”

“We are going to be offering those students who were turned away an additional discount on their textbooks,” she added.

The incident was first reported to Eyewitness News by Vince Espitia, a 23-year veteran of the Navy who signed up for summer classes at the college.

“For us to have everything taken care of and to walk down the bookstore and be turned away, it just wasn’t right,” Espitia said.

A representative at the local VA Chapter 31 confirmed that a check to reimburse the vouchers was sent from the Los Angeles VA finance offices to the Barnes and Noble corporate offices on May 7.

It is unclear what error the store made in processing that check, though a bookstore manager said the store had not received it.

It is unknown how many veterans may have been affected by the error.

The school’s summer session begins Monday.