Number of Veterans Studying Overseas on GI Bill is Rising

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By Debbie Gregory.

Thanks to the Post-9/11 GI Bill, an increasing number of U.S. military veterans are completing degrees overseas at global universities.

Part of the draw is the cheaper tuition, thanks in part to the favorable exchange rate.

The VA’s list of approved international colleges now includes around 1,800 universities or training schools in more than 100 countries.

According to VA statistics, more than 2000 Post-9/11 GI Bill students pursued degrees overseas in fiscal year 2015.

U.S. veterans interested in pursuing an international education can either use the GI Bill Comparison Tool to review the VA’s approved list of universities. The tool can also show veterans which benefits package is their best option.

If a veteran’s preferred college is not on the approved list, he or she can apply to have the school added, provided it meets the VA’s eligibility requirements.

According to the VA website, one of the main requirements for attending a foreign school under the GI Bill is that the institution of higher learning will result in a college degree or equivalent. If eligible, the VA will issue the veteran a Certificate of Eligibility, which shows the quantity and duration of benefits. Veterans should secure this certificate before enrolling at a foreign university.

The VA says the Post-9/11 GI Bill pays up to $21,000 in tuition per year at approved foreign colleges, about $1,500 per month for housing and $1,000 annually for books.

The Post-9/11 GI Bill has also opened up global education opportunities to eligible veterans’ family members. Active-duty service members must plan to complete 10 years of service to be eligible to transfer some or all of the Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits to a spouse or children.

If you decide to stay in the U.S. for your education, or you prefer to pursue an online degree, be sure to check out the MilitaryConnection.com directory of universities and colleges here.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

St. Bonaventure University- A Great School for Veterans, A Great Place to Work

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St. Bonaventure University (SBU) has long valued military veterans as an integral part of their campus community. Their new Student Veterans Center is staffed by two full-time employees, one full- time director, one full-time assistant director, and a half-time VISTA worker dedicated solely to the needs of veterans and their dependents as they transition from military to academic life. In addition, the University has had a chapter of the National Student Veterans Association.

The values SBU cherishes — discovery, community inclusiveness, service, and respect for the dignity and worth of each individual- — create a supportive, respectful environment for students, faculty and staff members. Situated in the peaceful surroundings of the Allegheny Mountains, the Main Campus offers the traditional program format. The second site, located on the Hilbert College Campus in Hamburg, NY, offers the weekend course format.

As the school expands to meet the needs of all their students, some employment opportunities have presented.

The School of Education has two tenure-track positions for Counselor Education at the Assistant or Associate Professor rank beginning fall 2017, and applications for these positions are invited.

One position is for a faculty member specializing in School Counseling and one is for Clinical Mental Health Counseling.  This position will include teaching master’s level courses in online, hybrid and face to face formats. Individuals from underrepresented groups are strongly encouraged to apply

Candidates must have: (1) an earned doctorate in Counselor Education is required and preference will be given to CACREP program graduates; (2) licensure as a professional counselor and/or certification as a professional school counselor; (3) experience as a school counselor or clinical mental health counselor;  (4) university teaching experience;  (5) expertise in online teaching and learning.

The successful candidate will teach graduate courses and advise students in the School Counseling and Clinical Mental Health Counseling programs.  Experience in addictions, multicultural counseling, diagnosis and treatment, research, and/or assessment is preferred.  Candidates should demonstrate excellence in teaching, the ability to work collaboratively with others, and a commitment to diversity and inclusion. Scholarly activity leading to publication in peer-reviewed journals is expected, as well as presentations at counseling conferences.   Experience with accreditation is a plus.  One successful candidate may serve as Program Director.

Candidates should submit curriculum vitae, letter of application, three letters of reference, and a sample of scholarly work via email to:  Dr. Nancy Casey, Interim Dean, School of Education; at ncasey@sbu.edu

St. Bonaventure University is an Equal Opportunity Employer, committed to fostering diversity in its faculty, staff and student body, and strongly encourages applications from the entire spectrum of a diverse community. In light of its commitment to create and maintain a safe learning and working environment, employment with St. Bonaventure University requires successful completion of a background screening. Unless otherwise provided by law, a criminal record will not automatically disqualify an individual from employment.

Veteran Education Benefits Lost as For-profits Schools Close

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By Debbie Gregory.

More than $1 billion in Post 9/11 GI Bill veteran education benefits were lost by veterans when for-profit Corinthian Colleges and ITT Technical Institutes closed their doors.

Since fiscal year 2013, veteran education benefits were being used by some 9,000 veterans pursuing their education at a school that has since shut down, according to a report released by the staff of Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.).

Carper and other members of Congress are urging for changes in the law so that veterans affected by the closure of a college can restore the GI eligibility they used up at a school that closed.

“It is unfathomable to me that these brave men and women, who volunteered to serve their country in a time of war, are now being left in the lurch by some of the largest recipients of Post-9/11 GI Bill taxpayer dollars,” said Carper, a 23-year veteran of the Navy and Naval Reserves. “This is shameful.”

Enacted in 2009, the post-9/11 GI Bill has provided more than $65 billion for tuition, books and housing to 1.6 million veterans and their families. Recipients can only use the benefits for 36 months of vocational or college education. If a veteran used GI Bill benefits to cover tuition at ITT Tech for two years, she would not have enough benefits left to finish up a bachelor’s degree.

For-profit colleges can only receive 90% of their funding from federal student aid programs to stay in compliance with regulations, but GI Bill benefits don’t count toward that 90%.

For-profit colleges aggressively recruit veterans because their benefits served as a stable source of revenue.

“The VA and Congress need to do more on the front end to hold bad actors accountable and ensure that we’re not continuing to send our veterans to schools delivering poor outcomes and destined for financial collapse,” Carper said.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

Veteran Education Disrupted by ITT Closure

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By Debbie Gregory.

Valuable veteran education benefits could be affected for as many as 7,000 veteran students using their GI Bill benefits at ITT Technical Institute.

The company has shut its doors at all 137 locations over 38 states. ITT places blame for the closure on the U.S. Department of Education, which has stepped up oversight of for-profit colleges, and imposed tough financial sanctions against ITT over recruitment and financial aid practices

The Department of Education, which has online information and webinar Q&A sessions through September 22nd, banned the school from enrolling new students who used federal financial aid.

ITT’s career-focused degree programs in specialties mainly centered on technical fields, such as electronics technology, drafting, auto mechanics, nursing, criminal justice and information technology. Their personal, direct testimony ads from past and present students were a staple on television.

“The sudden shuttering of ITT Tech will hurt thousands of veterans who enrolled in search of a promising career but will receive an uncertain future instead,” said Rep. Mark Takano, (D-CA) a member of the House Veterans Affairs Committee.

Takano said student veterans often are targets of aggressive and even deceptive recruiting practices, noting that Corinthian Colleges and ITT Tech together received a total of $1 billion in GI Bill money between 2009 and 2015. Corinthian Colleges Inc. closed the doors on its remaining campuses following government allegations of falsified job placement rates.

Therefore, in order to make the most of your military education benefits, it is imperative that you do your homework (so to speak) before choosing a college, university or technical school. You may want to use The Department of Education’s College Scorecard to find the program that’s right for you.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

Turn Your Commitment to Public Service into a Leadership Career

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You’ve shown a remarkable commitment to the greater good through your military service — now discover how that dedication can translate to a successful leadership career in public administration. The USC online Master of Public Administration can provide veterans and active military personnel with the advanced skills and social entrepreneurship abilities to thrive in public, private and nonprofit organizations.

Why choose the USC online MPA?

  • A custom path to more dynamic public service with a choice of Local Government Management, Nonprofit Management and Public Managementconcentrations
  • Inspiring, highly respected faculty known for leading important shifts in public policy
  • Enjoy convenient online coursework
  • Graduate in as few as 2 years
  • WASC & NASPAA Accredited

 

According to U.S. News & World Report:
USC is ranked #23 among the best universities nationwide (2016)
USC Price recently ranked 4th among 272 School of Public Affairs (2017)

In addition, USC Price School ranked:

  • #3 in City Management/Urban Policy
  • #3 in Health Policy/Management
  • #4 in Public Management/Administration
  • #6 in Nonprofit Management

USC is a proud participant in the Yellow Ribbon Program

Tradition of Support for the Armed Forces

USC has a long history of support for veterans and the military. The university became a training school for Army officers during World War I and expanded its role during World War II, serving as a naval preparatory flight cadet school and hosting Army, Marine Corps and Navy training programs.

USC also enrolls approximately 600 veterans each semester, supporting their return to civilian life through the USC Veterans Association, the USC Veterans Certifying Office, Transfer and Veteran Student Programs, and other initiatives.

Federal Court Upholds Texas Hazelwood Act Requirements

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By Debbie Gregory.

A federal appeals court has upheld a much-watched Texas program that promises free college educations to military veterans if they lived in the state when they enlisted.

The Hazlewood Act, which dates back to the 1920s, is a State of Texas benefit that provides qualified Veterans, spouses, and dependent children with an education benefit of up to 150 hours of tuition exemption, including most fee charges, at public institutions of higher education in Texas. It does not include living expenses, books, or supply fees.

The Hazlewood Act was expanded in 2009 to include veterans who entered military service at a Texas installation.

The act was challenged by a veteran who enlisted in Georgia, and moved to Texas after he was discharged. On January 26, 2015, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas ruled that the requirement that Veterans must have entered service in Texas in order to be eligible to receive the Texas Hazlewood exemption of tuition and fees at public schools (the fixed point residency requirement) was unconstitutional.

The decision would have sent the program’s costs skyrocketing.

Texas appealed to the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled that Texas-residency rules were not unconstitutional, and said the state has the right to regulate its own education system.

Eligibility requirements include:

  • Entered the military service from Texas, or Home of Record at the time of entry into active duty was Texas, or was a Texas resident at the time of entry into military service
  • Served more than 180 days of federal military service- excluding Initial Entry Training (Unless otherwise permanently disabled or killed while on Active Duty prior to serving 180 days of federal military service.)
  • Received an Honorable Discharge or General Discharge under Honorable Conditions
  • Exhausted GI Bill benefits if eligible for Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits at the 100% rate
  • Reside in Texas during term of enrollment
  • Provide DD214 or equivalent supporting documentation
  • Meet the GPA requirement of the institution’s satisfactory academic progress policy in a degree or certificate program as determined by the institution’s financial aid policy and, as an undergraduate student, not be consideered to have attempted an excessive amount of credit hours.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

Rand Study Reveals Interesting Findings Re: Veteran Unemployment

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By Debbie Gregory.

According to a 15 year RAND study, Iraq and Afghanistan veterans are not having as much of a difficult time finding employment as some sources would have the public believe.

There are still many hurdles to overcome, with the study revealing that veterans aged 18 to 24 who have recently separated have struggled to find jobs compared to the same demographic in the civilian population. With that said, part of that statistical information may be due to the fact that this age group is opting to use their education benefits and attend school rather than working full time jobs.

Other post-9/11 veterans do not have a much higher unemployment rate than their civilian counterparts. While the media relies on data from the Bureau of Labor and Statistics for its reporting, RAND looked at the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, where the sample size is much larger. Utilizing these numbers, the RAND study shows that post-9/11 veteran unemployment is not so different when compared to demographically similar non-veterans.

Also factoring in to the unemployment statistics is the number of veterans who are receiving unemployment benefits. With that said, the RAND study found that the majority of veterans receiving unemployment benefits were reservists returning from mobilization in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The RAND study found that tax credits for hiring veterans, such as the Vow to Hire Heroes Act and the Work Opportunity Tax Credit, have had a positive effect on veteran hiring.

So have programs designed to improve veterans’ transition and employment opportunities, such as the 100,000 Jobs Mission, which has exceeded expectations.

Whether you are an employer looking to reach the veteran community with your job openings, an institution of higher learning, or a member of the military, a veteran or a supporter, we hope you will reach out to MilitaryConnection.com.  We are known as “the Go To Site” and have of the most comprehensive online directories of resources and information for our audience.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

Plan to Attend Boys & Girls Club Pacific Military Youth of the Year Event

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By Debbie Gregory.

The annual Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s Pacific Military Youth of the Year event will take place on July 29th in San Diego.

The event will celebrate the accomplishments of seven military teens from across the region, and one will be named the Pacific Military Youth of the Year. The winner will receive a $10,000 scholarship, renewable up to four years, and will go on to vie for the National Military Youth of the Year title, and ultimately National Youth of the Year. The Pacific Military Youth of the Year event is sponsored nationally by Disney, Toyota, Taco Bell Foundation and University of Phoenix, along with Diamond sponsor Sony.

For more than 150 years, Boys & Girls Clubs of America has enabled young people most in need to achieve great futures as productive, caring, responsible citizens. The youth advocacy organization is proud to partner with the U.S. Armed Services to also support military kids and families. Affiliated Youth Centers on installations around the country and abroad serve more than 500,000 youth each year.

The Pacific Military Youth of the Year program is part of Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s national Youth of the Year program, an inspiring journey that begins at the local Club level. In addition to having the honor of serving as Boys & Girls Clubs’ teen spokesperson, the National Youth of the Year receives an additional $100,000 scholarship, a potential visit with the President of the United States, and the opportunity to serve as a spokesperson for Boys & Girls Clubs of America, representing four million Club kids and teens.

For more information on the Youth of the Year program visit www.youthoftheyear.org.

 

The Boys & Girls Club Code

I believe in God and the right to worship according to my own faith and religion.
I believe in America and the American way of life…in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
I believe in fair play, honesty and sportsmanship.
I believe in my Boys & Girls Club, which stands for these things.

 

Senate Legislation Affects Veterans Benefits

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By Debbie Gregory.

Senate lawmakers approved the Veterans First Act,  a veterans benefits bill that expands programs by reworking the GI Bill housing payments.

The Senate bill would reduce the annual increase to the monthly housing allowance for all recipients of the Post-9/11 GI Bill, including veterans themselves, by 1 percent for five years, mirroring the payment received by active-duty service members.

The Senate package also adds new protections for whistleblowers, includes provisions intended to make it easier to fire employees who engage in wrongful behavior, and places caps on bonuses. This, in an effort to safeguard against certain issues in the VA healthcare system from repeating.

These issues include unauthorized wait-lists for veterans seeking appointments, executives manipulating the system to retain or earn bonuses or accepting gifts, and retaliation against whistleblowers who have brought problems to the attention of leadership.

The bill would expand a department program that allows seriously injured veterans to receive care in their own homes; enhance mental health care programs; and halt the over-prescribing of opioids to veterans.

The bill also would direct the VA to commence research into potential health problems of children and grandchildren of veterans who were exposed to toxins, including the chemical defoliant Agent Orange.

Other provisions included in the Senate bill include:

Expanding the VA’s Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers program to all generations of veterans. Currently, only Post-9/11 veterans are eligible.

Establishing standards for the prompt payment to non-VA health care providers who treat veterans under the Choice Act.

Making it possible for mobilized reservists to earn GI Bill eligibility.

Expanding research on the potential health effects from toxic exposure to veterans and their descendants.

Strengthening programs to combat veteran homelessness.

Improving the disability claims and appeals process by requiring the VA to launch a pilot program that will cut down the massive backlog of appeals awaiting action.

The bipartisan Senate bill must still be reconciled with the House version and a final package approved by both chambers.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.