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What are the Benefits of Higher Education for Veterans

Education is an essential part of one’s life, especially for those who want to build a career, both in uniform and out. After a decennium of association in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, there has been a continuing expansion in the enrolment of veteran students in universities and colleges. To meet the needs of these students, several institutes have designed specific programs and services designed to cater to the needs and embellish the success of veterans in higher education. According to recent stats of the Department of Veterans Affairs, a small percentage of veterans make full use of their federal education benefits, but with institutes introducing evaluation plans, the numbers are likely to increase in the coming years

The GI Bill

The original GI Bill was in charge of education millions of doctors, scientists, business people, engineers, teachers, actors, and authors, along with arranging vocational training for a million more. But, after 9/11 GI Bill also offers benefits for veterans, service members, and their families. According to the Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2008, higher education incentives will cater to more than two million service members who have served the country since September 11th, 2001. According to this bill, the state will pay for the tuition and fees for eligible veterans in-state public undergraduate higher education, private education, and even out-of-state tuition. The state will also provide stipends for annual books and monthly housing. 

The passing of this bill has reaped many great benefits for Veterans regarding their higher education. Veterans are not like traditional students, and they may be older or mostly fall into the category of transfer students because they already have education credit scores, which they may have earned in the military. Here are some of the benefits of higher education for veteran students.

Community-Based Approach

In today’s times, it is difficult for institutes to design new programs and services that cater only to a specific number of students. However, because of the long on-going war, both government and private sectors offer programs, services, and other resources only for veteran students. The reason for a need for veteran centered plans is because many veterans come to the educational institutes with issues like depression, traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress disorder, hearing disability, and vision loss. That is why it is essential for institutes that provide higher education to veterans to provide resources so such students can learn as well. Several institutes have an on-campus rehabilitation center that provides equipment and assistance one needs to cope up with their disabilities. Issues like depression, post-traumatic stress, and injuries can take a toll on one’s education, providing veteran scholarships is not enough to deal with such problems. That is why to make sure veteran students can do their best in their studies, community-based educational programs play a pivotal role.

Veteran-Specific Learning Communities

Most veterans find it hard to mingle with younger classmates, and are more comfortable around other veteran students, as it is easier for them to build relationships with people who come from the same background. For this, many institutes have designed classes that are only for veteran students. These classes include both non-credit and full-credit courses and are a great way of improving the success of veterans students. It provides such students an environment where they can perform better both academically and socially. This idea came by a former professor of Cleveland State University and is known as SERV, short for Supportive Education for the Returning Veteran. When he noticed that veterans were having a hard time evolving into higher education, he introduced courses called ‘Veterans-Only.’ It helped them with a smooth transition from their classes to the regular ones. The institutes offering SERV classes right now are the University of Akron, University of Arizona, Youngstown State University, and  Kent State University.

Improved Campus Climate

To help the veteran students adjust quickly in life on the campus, many institutes offer programs that offer facilities of peer mentors and coordinators. Through these programs, enrolled students are made aware of the experience in college, about its students, administration, and faculty. Through these programs have easy access to services like social events, counseling, academic advising, and other kinds of traction assistance. Adjusting to the life of campus can be hard for ordinary individuals coming from civil backgrounds, so we can only imagine what it must be like for a person who has been coming from war. When you get a comfortable climate around your campus, it automatically boosts your educational skills. 

Conclusion

When the veterans arrive on institutional campuses, they look forward to supporting faculty, administration, and fellow students. Luckily, because of the number of resources provided by the government and private sectors, the transition of these students from their military life to civilian life has become easy. Higher education institutes are playing a massive role in this by providing veteran-specific programs and resources.

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