Posts

Military Connection: Model for Rating Veteran-Friendly Schools

Vet friendly schoolsBy Joe Silva

Since the implementation of the Post-9/11 GI Bill in 2009, more than one million individuals, including Veterans and dependents with transferred GI Bill benefits, have enrolled at institutions of higher education. And approximately 250,000 service members continue to separate from the military each year, the majority of whom will use their GI Bill to attend college. In response to all of these Veterans attending school through use of GI Bill benefits, many institutions have been vying for their federally paid tuition money, and the extra grant funding offered to schools that serve Veterans. Even with the best intentions in mind, some institutions have lost sight of the need to serve each Veteran student individually. It has become hard to tell which schools are actually out to help Veterans, and which are out solely to help themselves.

The Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency (MVAA) has come up with a possible solution for their state that could set the standard for the entire country. The MVAA has devised a rating system for colleges and universities that provides Veterans with a means to determine their prospective school’s track record for serving Veteran students.

The MVAA looks at criteria such as:

  • On-campus Veteran’s coordinator and/or staffed Veterans center
  • Active student-operated Veteran club/association
  • Established process for the identification of current student Veterans
  • Evaluation and awarding of credit for military training and experience
  • Veteran-specific website/portal
  • Monitoring and evaluation of student Veteran academic retention, completion and graduation rates
  • Monitoring and evaluation of student Veteran job placement rates

If a school has at least three of the above, the MVAA gives them a Bronze rating. If the school has four, they receive a Silver rating. If they are found to provide six or more of the above, schools are given a Gold rating. The ratings are announced by MVAA and placed on their website for Veterans to consider when they are researching schools to use their GI Bill.

While this rating system is currently only used in Michigan, it could be something to consider doing nationally, ideally by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), which administers Veteran education benefits. When using the VA’s GI Bill Comparison Tool, Veterans have access to information such as how many GI Bill students attend a particular school, if that school has a Veterans club/group, and if they are a Yellow Ribbon School. Also available is information such as whether the school is in compliance with the president’s “Principles of Excellence,” do they abide by the “8 Keys to Veterans Success,” and if the school has had any complaints made to the VA by way of Veteran student feedback. Furthermore, Veterans can see how the school is accredited, and view the amount of fees paid through the Post-9/11 GI Bill and the Yellow Ribbon Program. All the VA would have to do to implement a program similar to the one that the MVAA has in place would be to calculate the data that it is already collecting.

Veteran students will still have a choice of where they want to attend, but knowing if their prospective school is or isn’t doing all that they can to serve their Veteran students could assist with the decision making process.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the ArmyNavyAir ForceMarinesCoast Guard,Guard and ReserveVeterans 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 Boardinformation 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: Model for Rating Veteran-Friendly Schools: By Joe Silva

Military Connection: Better Way to Research GI Bill: By Debbie Gregory

GI Bill Comparison Tool upgradeOn Thursday August 28, 2014, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced the launch of an upgraded version of the GI Bill® Comparison Tool.

Since its initial release in February if this year, the GI Bill Comparison Tool has been making it easier for Veterans, service members, and military dependents to estimate their GI Bill education benefits and learn more about their prospective school. The tool has provided key information about the school and its tuition prices, as well as data on graduation&amp, borrowing rates for individual colleges and universities. The information provided by the GI Bill Comparison Tool helps Veterans choose the best education program to meet their needs and available benefit.

The VA estimates that over the past 6 months nearly 350,000 people have utilized the tool on VA’s GI Bill website.

The upgraded version of the GI Bill Comparison Tool provides the same wealth of information, but with added data. Along with the information already provided by the original tool, the new version is equipped with a more comprehensive benefits calculator.

The new GI Bill Comparison Tool now offers Veterans the ability to click on an option that says, “How much am I going to get?” after typing in their eligibility information and the name of their school of interest. This new option offers a complete breakdown of cost. It shows how much your education benefit will pay you per month (specific to the school’s zip code), how much book stipend a student can expect to receive, and the total of what is “paid to you” for the year.

The new option goes even further by calculating the school’s tuition &amp, fees cost and comparing the cost against your benefit, ultimately providing Veterans with the “out of pocket cost” that they would have to pay, if they attended the school with their benefit.

The Post-9/11 GI Bill will pay the entire tuition cost of a state school’s in-state tuition, or up to $20,235. Once that tuition cost is exceeded at a private college or out-of-state school, the rest of the tuition comes out of the Veteran student’s pocket. Knowing the information that the upgraded GI Bill Comparison Tool provides could save individual Veteran college students thousands of dollars each year.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and 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: Better Way to Research GI Bill: By Debbie Gregory