By Debbie Gregory.
One of the biggest incentives that American men & women have for voluntarily enlisting into the military during a time of war is the education benefit. Military and Veteran education benefits have made it possible for approximately one million Military, Veteran and dependent students to attend college over the past four years. And it is estimated that one million more students will be enrolled, utilizing service-earned education benefits, within the next 5 years.
Given the current state of the job market, coupled with the increased benefits in education programs such as the Post-9/11 GI Bill, there has never been a better time to attend college, university, or a technical school. The Post-9/11 GI Bill is the most generous benefit to date. It provides Veteran students with up to 100% of the cost of tuition and fees, paid directly to the school. It also pays the student a Monthly Allowance for Housing (MAH) and a stipend for books and supplies at the start of each semester.
But the transition in lifestyles from uniform to university is not always an easy one for Veterans. Most GI Bill college students haven’t seen the inside of a classroom for over four years. While they have all received military “classroom” training at several points of their careers, college and university classrooms have expectations and workloads which require a student’s mind to function in a different gear. Readjustment has not been too difficult a challenge for most Veterans, who have already excelled in their abilities to adapt and overcome. It is just one of many obstacles.
Veteran students are often subject to a sort of “culture shock” on college campuses. Most GI Bill students range in age from the mid-twenties up to the forties. They were shipping out and seeing combat while most of their classmates were still in junior high. Veteran students often have spouses, children and jobs, on top of their academic workload.
Military Veterans have historically become leaders in our communities. College educated men and women are the leaders of our workforce. Given the enormity of use of these education benefits, we are primed to have the largest generation of college educated Veterans that this country has ever seen. The potential for this generation is limitless.