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VFW program helping veterans pay rising college costs gets $1.35 million donation

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Veterans who want to go to college often struggle to pay for the skyrocketing costs of higher education.

Veterans of Foreign Wars is expanding its scholarship program for those who served, thanks to a generous donation from Sport Clips Haircuts.

Veterans already receive GI Bill benefits to help pay the cost of college. But tuition bills have surged so much in recent years that some vets find themselves struggling to complete their degrees.

Sport Clips was founded by an Air Force veteran and lifetime VFW member. The company Monday donated $1.35 million to the Help A Hero program, the largest donation for college scholarships for veterans.

Ian Tucker, 21, recently learned that he's getting a $5,000 scholarship to pay for his tuition at Missouri State University next year.

"It’s great," Tucker said. "Especially for people like me who want to go to law school or individuals who want to go to grad school. Most of us use the G-I Bill to pay for those schoolings, not the undergrad. A scholarship like this means I don’t have to pay, or people like me don’t have to pay for undergraduate."

Nearly 1,300 people have received Help A Hero scholarships. The program is helping train vets to become everything from commercial truck drivers to medical doctors.

Sport Clip customers and suppliers make donations, and the barber shop donates a dollar from every hair cut on Veterans Day, which this year turned out to be more than $100,000.

Nearly $6 million has been spent on college scholarships so far, helping pay tuition costs at nearly 340 schools. Tucker said if he had not walked in to get his hair cut at Sport Clips he never would have known about it.

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