The Most Important Veteran Benefits Offered by Colleges


Look for these veteran benefits programs to assist veterans and active-duty military, available at community colleges, colleges and universities.

If you’re a veteran who’s going back to school, or still active duty looking to get your degree, veteran benefit programs can be confusing. There are a lot of considerations in your choice of schools.
But how do you know which schools provide the best veteran- and military-friendly programs for students?

CollegeRecon identifies key veteran benefits programs that are available on campuses to assist veterans and active-duty military. These benefits are available at community colleges, colleges and universities.
Basic Allowance for Housing

The Monthly Housing Allowance (MHA) payments you receive for the Post 9/11 GI Bill are based on the military’s Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) rates for an E-5 with dependents. The Department of Defense adjusts the BAH every calendar year (or January 1) based on changes to housing costs across the country. BAH rates for online colleges, schools, or distance learning programs is $754.50. BAH is not paid during summer or winter breaks, but Spring Break counts. Dropping courses can negatively affect BAH payments.

Campus SVA Chapter
SVA chapters are student-veteran groups that have formed on college and university campuses to provide peer-to-peer networks for veterans who are attending those schools. The chapters are designed to be advocates for student veterans, and to help bridge the campus-to-career transition.
Full-Time Veteran Counselor on Campus
A full-time veteran counselor is on campus to offer support and assistance for any array of student-veteran issues. These counselors will assist veterans in a number of ways, including helping them determine which services they need to succeed, and then directing how to engage them.
Signed VA Principles of Excellence
Educational institutions participating in the Principles of Excellence program agree to follow a set of guidelines pertaining to student-veteran issues. Examples of these guidelines include: Providing students with a personalized form covering the total cost of an education program and designating a point-of-contact for academic and financial advising.
Club/Association for Veterans
Many institutions offer student-veteran clubs and associations on their campuses. It’s a great place to meet other veterans attending your college or university.
Veterans Upward Bound Program – The Veterans Upward Bound Program is designed to motivate and assist veterans in the development of academic and other requisite skills necessary for acceptance and success in a program of post-secondary education. The program provides assessment and enhancement of basic skills through counseling, mentoring, tutoring, and academic instruction in the core subject areas.
8 Keys To Veterans’ Success – The 8 Keys to Veterans’ Success are steps that postsecondary institutions can take to assist veterans and service members in transitioning to higher education, completing their college programs, and obtaining career-ready skills. Schools participating in the 8 Keys to Veterans’ Success pledge to make a real investment in their veteran students. This program should be a difference maker if the institution has followed through with their promise. Unfortunately, no one polices the program to ensure the school is adhering to the program’s standards.
ROTC Program – The Reserve Officers’ Training Corps is one of the best opportunities for you to get an invaluable experience while you earn a college degree. When enrolled in ROTC you learn and develop leadership skills and prepare for a career as an officer in the U.S. Military. You will learn first-hand what it takes to lead others, motivate groups, and how to conduct missions as a military officer.
ACE Credit for Military Experience – The ACE Military Evaluations Program evaluates formal military training in terms of academic credit, allowing thousands of military personnel to earn credit for college-level learning acquired in the military. Your Joint Service Transcript (JST) may be sent as an official document to colleges and universities, at the student’s request, for use in the credential evaluation process.

Follow ACE Standards for Credit – ACE’s Military Guide presents credit recommendations for formal courses and occupations offered by all branches of the military. All recommendations for credit approval are based on ACE reviews conducted by college and university faculty members who are actively teaching in the areas they review.
Awards Credit For CLEP Exam – The CLEP exams allow veterans to receive college credit by earning qualifying scores on any one or more of 34 assessments, allowing them to move directly into higher-level courses, saving time and money.
Awards Credit For DSST Exam – DSST (formerly DANTES) are also credit-by-examination tests. Whereas CLEP tests are almost exclusively used for lower-level credit at regionally accredited institutions, DSST’s are available for both upper and lower level credit.
In-State Tuition Extended For Active Duty – These institutions charge active duty veterans, regardless of their actual state of residence, no more than the in-state tuition rate for a resident of the state.
TA Funding – Military Tuition Assistance (TA) is a benefit paid to eligible members of the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, and Coast Guard. Congress has given each service the ability to pay up to 100% of the tuition expenses for its members. Each service has its own criteria for eligibility, obligated service, application process and restrictions. This money is usually paid directly to the institution by the individual services.
Yellow Ribbon Program – Tuition & fees may exceed the amount the Post 9/11 GI Bill will pay if you are attending a private school, or are attending a public school as a nonresident student. Institutions participating in the Yellow Ribbon Program make additional funds available for your education program without an additional charge to your GI Bill entitlement.
Scholarships For Military – Apply for a military specific scholarship at these institutions to help drive down the cost of your education.
Reduced Tuition For Military – These institutions offer tuition discounts for members of the U.S. Armed Forces.


How Internships Can Benefit Veterans


By Sandra Long

Over one million young American men and women are in the process of leaving the military between 2011 and 2016. They all enlisted for different reasons, but many did so in hopes of getting a college degree after their military service commitment was completed. American college campuses are now adjusting to this influx of unique talent. Veterans have a higher rate of unemployment so special attention is warranted from schools and employers.

Internships during college are a great way for these young veterans to obtain additional relevant workplace experience to add to their impressive military achievements. All veterans work hard to translate their military skills into meaningful experiences valued by civilian hiring managers. University counselors are gearing up nationally to help these extraordinary veteran students to make successful transitions from the military on to college and career. There are also websites and software available to help veterans in this process of breaking down and rebranding some of their specific skills and competencies.

Some of America’s veterans are going straight from combat to the workforce because they already have their college degree. Those soldiers and sailors will probably not have the opportunity for an internship. For example, my son went from an Army Officer directly to a supervisory position in the oil industry.

The thousands of veterans now on our college campuses are a different story. Internships provide a fantastic opportunity for them to add to their resume and skill sets. These young people are used to the command and control structure of the military. An internship will open new doors and provide valuable experience for them. A veteran can also do an internship during the initial job search process directly after college graduation.

More companies and organizations are starting to offer paid internships for our young veterans, many of which are currently attending our nation’s colleges. The New York Stock Exchange has actively been hiring veteran interns in New York City. EMC is among several companies considered “military friendly” and a good potential internship employer. Veterans can register with the 100,000 jobs mission ( They can also apply for jobs and find employers interested in veterans. Finding the right companies or organizations is an important first step for veterans and the college and career counselors assisting them, whether they are seeking an internship or regular full-time employment.

Veterans also need to learn to network in order to create their own opportunities. This can be somewhat foreign to the military mindset but an essential skill for a job seeker and any business professional today. Veterans looking for a professional or internship position should consider using LinkedIn because recruiters are actively searching for veterans on the site. Veterans need to fully complete the LinkedIn profile and optimize it with keywords and headlines such as “Veteran seeking Operations Internship.” A newer site, Rally Point, is also available to veterans for online networking and is more exclusive to the military community.

Internships for veterans is a great idea. It helps veterans to learn about corporate, government and nonprofit organizations. Rather than just going to an online calculator to figure out how their military experience will translate, an internship provides both the veteran and employer a “test drive”. Quality paid internships are a great opportunity for veterans and employers. Colleges and employers can and should partner together to create veteran internship programs.


What Should I Know About Being a Student Veteran?


Being A Student Veteran Comes With A Unique Set Of Challenges

Many veterans decide to further their education after returning to civilian life. Whether you recently left active duty or have been a veteran for many years, going to college after military service can be exciting and can present new possibilities—but it can also be challenging. For instance, you juggle the demands of school with other aspects of your civilian life. It may be frustrating to interact with people who don’t understand your military experiences. It’s important to be aware of the with — and the steps you can take to address them.

What types of issues should I keep an eye out for?

Some student veterans find that they have trouble with the topics covered in class. Although they understand the importance of these classes and the value of higher education, they may find that the content covered in class seems to have much less real-world relevance than some of the things they experienced in the military. The lifestyle and activities of other students who are not veterans may seem trivial or like a waste of time. If you’re not relating to your classmates, it may make you feel isolated or depressed. “While the other students in my class seemed to be focused on tonight’s party, I was thinking about being back in Afghanistan where I was part of something bigger. That’s when I reached out and found other vets on my campus, which helped a lot.”

Alcohol and drugs are a frequent part of some college social scenes. If you drink or take druds, you may find that your substance use begins to interfere with your grades, your work, or your ability to get along with others over time. The friends and social activities you choose will influence your behavior.

Some veterans experience problems with memory or concentration. It may be hard to pay attention in classes, to focus on learning material, or to remember what you have learned for exams. If you have trouble sleeping, feel constantly on edge, or experience recurring nightmares or flashbacks of a traumatic event, this can make school even more challenging.

What can I do if I’m having a hard time?

Going from something familiar, like military life, to something new and different, like school, can be hard, but there are things you can do to make it easier. Try to remember:

  • Start with a few courses to ease the transition.
  • Reach out to other veterans on your campus for social support.
  • Get to know your new professors, tell them you’re a veteran, and ask for advice on how you can be successful in the classroom.
  • When studying, take as many breaks as you need; partner when possible.
  • Take advantage of your school’s academic, tutoring, and academic counseling services.
  • Recognize your own signs of stress, and look for daily ways to manage that stress.
  • Exercise regularly and practice relaxation techniques to help reduce anxiety and improve concentration.
  • Participate in student activities to break down barriers and become part of the campus community.
  • Recognize that others may not agree with you or understand your military service; agree to disagree.
  • Seek out social activities that don’t revolve around alcohol and drugs.
  • Be prepared for direct questions about your service, sometimes in very public, seemingly inappropriate situations; practice ahead of time how you would like to respond.
  • Respectfully decline to talk about things that make you uncomfortable.
  • Your family, friends, trusted classmates, and professors can be a source of stability and support.
  • Staying in contact with them may help ease the transition and provide you with a good source of feedback for your thoughts and concerns.
  • In addition to these strategies, you have strengths and skills that you learned through your military service and training. Using these skills also will help you address challenges and support your transition to higher education and campus life.
  • You learned leadership skills and can lead by providing direction and demonstrating responsibility for others.
  • You know how to set a positive example, while inspiring and influencing people with motivation and direction.
  • You accomplished tasks and have been successful as part of a team.
  • You learned to be flexible and adaptable to meet new ans changing situations and environments.
  • You learned to understand and solve complex challenges.
  • You learned to treat diverse groups of people in the military with the highest level of respect. to interact and work with anyone.
  • Your work with people of different cultures has prepared you to interact and work with anyone.
  • You served in various locations around the world. Your experience and perspective can enrich any classroom discussion.

Take the next step: make the connections.

Every day, veterans who served in the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard connect with resources, services, and support to address the issues affecting their lives. If issues at school are interfering with your health and well-being or getting in the way of your relationships, activities, or ability to study, you may want to reach out for support. Consider connecting with:

  • Your doctor. Ask if your doctor has experience treating veterans or can refer you to someone who does.
  • A mental health professional, such as a therapist
    Your local VA Medical Center or Vet Center. VA specializes in the care and treatment of Veterans.
  • A spiritual or religious adviser


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