Military Connection: Winning the GI Bill Invasion: By Joe Silva

Veteran student invasionColleges and universities: be on the lookout…more than a million Veterans are flooding campuses nationwide. And even more Veterans are on the way. How can you prepare?

According to the Student Veterans of America (SVA), more than 1.2 million Veterans have gone back to school using the Post-9/11 GI Bill. The SVA also claims that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has issued $43.1 billion in Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits to Veterans. Those numbers are set to continue to climb as more Iraq and Afghanistan-era service members separate from the military at a rate of around 250,000 each year.

I, myself, am a college graduate by way of the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and can speak firsthand of the increasing presence of Veterans on campuses  throughout the U.S.  This should drive home the point that schools wanting the VA’s tuition money need to step up their efforts to accommodate the needs of military Veterans.

Most colleges have made major progress in providing for Veteran students since 2008. Now, almost three-quarters of them have at least one member of their staff specifically dedicated to assisting Veterans. But there is always more that can be done to provide for military Veteran students.

Many schools have created a common gathering space for their Veteran students. Veteran Resource Centers, Veterans Affairs offices, lounges and study areas are becoming more and more common. Make sure that your school’s space is known to your Veterans, while still encouraging them to mingle with the rest of the student population. Interacting with other students contributes to a well-rounded education through the exchange of knowledge.

Along the same line, many schools with large Veteran populations have introduced events, forums and even courses that focus on inclusion,  and allow these students to field questions about the military from their classmates. Many Veterans won’t openly share with strangers what they have experienced, but if asked, they are happy to answer.

One final thing that schools can do for Veteran students is hire Veterans. With more than one million Veterans who have returned to college, there is a growing number of Veterans with degrees. The nation’s academic institutions can assist all students, especially Veteran students, by tapping in to this talent pool. From staffing administration offices and Veteran Resource offices, to tutoring centers and even classroom instructors, hiring qualified Veterans should be a top priority.

By showing Veterans that your school is dedicated to helping them succeed in their mission to earn a college degree, administrators can guarantee the continued enrollment of GI Bill students.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard &amp,amp, Reserve, Veterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: Winning the GI Bill Invasion: By Joe Silva