We have been in the midst of one of the longest periods associated with ongoing military action in Oughout. S. History. Thousands of service women and men rotate in and out of active duty each year; and when veterans come home from battle they try to put their life back together. But even with the support available to them, a big link in their transition is often missing: clear suggestions about how to go back to school and manage the next phase of their education.
Pamela Tate, president and CEO of Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (“ CAEL” ), said at a hearing on teaching veterans in Washington D. Chemical. in November that returning veterans, in spite of financial aid available, “don’t know where they should go to school, what they should study and what careers is there for them. ’’
Based on the Hechinger Report, a bilateral protection agreement between the U. S. and Afghanistan could allow for a enduring presence of troops there through 2024, sending even more veterans into limbo.
That means the street to higher education will remain fraught with challenges for U. S. veterans, some two million men and women who may have or will return from Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere in the next couple of years.
It’s a unhappy state of affairs for a country that well-informed about 10 million returning veterans after World War II – including three U. S. presidents, three Great Court justices, 14 Nobel Prize winners and 24 Pulitzer Prize winners.
The GI bill of 1944 transformed Oughout. S. higher education with benefits permitting veterans to attend any institution that admitted them. The bill assisted support spouses and children and offered preparation for vocational careers in construction, auto mechanics and electrical wiring, among others.
In recent years, the revamped Post-9/11 GI bill has provided financial aid to veterans and their families, including reservists and National Guard members – but critics say it does not go far enough to ease the transition home.
“When you leave the military, you are on an island by yourself, ’’ said James Selbe, the key advisor for advocacy and support of military, veterans and their particular family members at University of Maryland University College.
The particular piece in the Hechinger Report records that today’s veterans are having improving difficulty accessing their benefits, and might end up wandering around campuses searching for someone who can help them transfer credits, register for classes or provide career advice.
Today’s veterans often have difficulty accessing their benefits, and may end up wandering around campuses looking for someone who can help them exchange credits, register for classes or offer career advice. They are not represented at many elite colleges.
Some are finding themselves deep indebted due to predatory lenders; others ripped off by for-profit colleges that entice them in – and don’t deliver what they’ve promised. Previously this month, the Federal Trade Commission warned veterans to be careful before choosing a for-profit school; at one point some 22 percent of veterans chose the for-profit route.
“They may want to use your Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits to enhance their bottom line and may not help you achieve your educations goals, ” the commission cautioned.
In California, colleges are finding that benefits don’t go far sufficient. Campuses are stretched as they try to give veterans the help they need and deserve, said Patrick O’Rourke, movie director of veteran affairs services for your office of the chancellor at Ca State University, where the VetNet program provides veteran services and support.
“What we fag California for our veterans comes out in our pockets, ’’ O’Rourke said. In the recent visit to centers on 2 California college campuses, O’Rourke uncovered crushing workloads and staff members overwhelmed just trying to connect veterans with simple answers about using their benefits.
Tate, O’Rourke and Selbe of UMUC were among panelists at “Success After Company: Improving Postsecondary Education for Experienced, ’’ a discussion that took place within Washington D. C. earlier this month in honor of Veterans Day.
The discussion came several three months after President Barack Obama signed new legislation that requires colleges to boost efforts to help veterans get to and through college.
Tate of CAEL said too many veterans don’t know the best to school, how to get credit to get prior learning or work experience and what careers are available to them.
They also often struggle to discover answers for their unique range of problems – everything from transferring credits to studying full-time while supporting a family to post-traumatic stress and physical injuries.
What most need is career training that looks at what skills they have – and which ones they need, said Selbe, associated with UMUC.
“Historically at UMUC they come not to get a work, but to get the next job, ’’ Selbe said. “So from a career services perspective that’s where the efforts have been, but with the economy taking a dive and vets returning in increasing numbers, it has not really been the case. We didn’t possess the capacity or skill set to allow vets navigate their way through. ’’
UMUC right now trains those who work in career services in the unique needs of veterans, Selbe said – a vivid spot in the growing recognition of the continuing obstacles veterans face.
It’s important for hopeful signals to start outnumbering the obstacles – especially as the number of veterans and their families seeking higher education continues to grow.
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