The Secret to Applying to College as a Military Veteran

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Veterans Education

As service members consider the choices available to them when they transition out of the military, many are faced with a difficult decision. The path to civilian life is not always straightforward, and the job security of the military appears alluring when one considers the unknowns of easing back into civilian life.

In this article, my aim is to use my story of transitioning from the Air Force to Yale University to help fellow veterans realize their options in the realm of education.

By Robert Henderson

Like many fresh-faced service members straight out of high school, I planned to attend college after completing a four-year enlistment in the Air Force. And again, a story familiar to all veterans, plans change and unexpected re-enlistments occur. Seven years later, the time had come: My contract was ending in one year. Finally, I could pursue my original plan of attending college and I had an abundant resource to fund this next phase of my life: The Post-9/11 GI Bill. While I understood the worth of this asset, I was unsure how to go about maximizing its value.

One thing I knew for certain was that I wanted to aim high (no pun intended for my fellow Air Force veterans). I had developed a love for knowledge during my years in the military. I had read hundreds of books, took night classes, and watched free lectures on YouTube during downtime on deployments. I was not the best student in high school but I had built a strong GPA taking part-time college courses while I served. My plan was to be accepted into the best possible school. Still, the application process for selective colleges can be daunting—especially for a first-generation applicant with an unusual backstory. Moreover, there appeared to be few resources that offered guidance to nontraditional applicants.

There were two obstacles in my path as I considered my decision to attend college. The first is that there were not many places to turn for advice on how to apply to a top tier college. In fact, while most of my enlisted colleagues were supportive of my efforts, a few senior enlisted individuals seemed skeptical when I told them the schools to which I had applied. To some of them, a veteran attending a top tier college was outside the realm of possibility.

The second obstacle was the transition assistance class designed to help veterans ease into civilian life. The military now requires individuals to attend this class, which primarily focuses on seeking civilian employment after leaving the military, rather than capitalizing on education benefits. The class instructor took it for granted that the majority of veterans in our class would elect to work rather than earn a degree. During a resume workshop, I asked the instructor, an employee for the Department of Labor, if we could discuss college applications. He recommended I stop by his office after the class. I took him up on the offer. He spent 15 minutes extolling the wonderment of the GI Bill but had no insight on how to apply to college as a veteran.

Luckily I had found two programs that offered exactly the sort of guidance I needed. The first organization is the Warrior-Scholar Project, an academic workshop held at universities across the country geared toward helping veterans rediscover the academic skills necessary to succeed in college. The second program is called Service to School, which links veterans who are currently attending college with a veteran seeking higher education. The student veteran acts as a mentor, guiding the applicant through the college admissions process. I now work as a mentor for Service to School, and recently helped a former Marine receive admission to Brown University.

It is important to do your research when preparing for your transition. One question often raised by fellow veterans is how they can afford to attend certain universities. The GI Bill covers the cost of tuition for state universities, they say, but how can veterans afford an expensive private school? The answer is that many colleges offer the Yellow Ribbon program, which is designed to offset remaining costs that the GI Bill does not cover. Moreover, certain schools have generous financial aid policies. Scour the websites of colleges that interest you, and if you have specific questions, do not hesitate to contact them.

As a college-bound veteran, you must create opportunities for yourself. Do not be reluctant to seek help, and say yes when others offer it. While military promotes collaboration and teamwork, sometimes veterans are so self-reliant that it verges on impediment. Someday you will be in a position to offer help to others. Until that point, accept the generosity of people in such positions. In a future post, I’ll discuss why veterans hold themselves back from applying to top tier colleges. These include class differences, too few success stories, and mindset barriers.

Attracting and Sourcing Veterans—Help for corporations looking for the right veteran for the job

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recruiting and sourcing veterans

By Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University

Some organizations, such as TriWest, GAE, and the Combined Insurance Company of America, appoint a key veteran staff member to lead efforts in recruiting high-potential veteran candidates transitioning from military service to the private sector. This person understands military and corporate culture and can help HR and hiring managers understand military culture and service.

However, general recruiting efforts may not reach prospective employees with disabilities, so advertising with disability organizations, vocational rehabilitation programs, and disability-related job fairs are good ways to reach potential employees with disabilities.

Another means for attracting veterans is to develop marketing materials that help translate and transfer military skills/experience into civilian job responsibilities. Organizations that have focused veteran recruiting strategies leverage military classification codes in their application materials and jobs postings. These codes specify an individual’s job and rank, and often include additional qualifications, such as languages or specialized training.

Numerous organizations offer specialized websites for veterans, including AT&T, Amazon, Disney, JPMorgan Chase, Microsoft, Sodexo, T-Mobile, and Walmart Inc. Military recruitment channels, career fairs, and other similar events are additional avenues where businesses can share their employment opportunities and veterans can explore whether there’s a match with their skills and experience. Businesses can showcase their job opportunities along with the benefits of joining their organization, while veterans have the opportunity to demonstrate they are some of the most qualified talent in the nation.

Partnerships with business and trade associations represent another important channel for recruiting veteran talent, as well as a means for communicating the value of veterans in the workforce. Leveraging community collaboration and networking with other firms are excellent means for sourcing veterans. Encouraging inter- and intra-industry collaboration to identify and utilize the most comprehensive military skills translators creates more effective placement. The 100,000 Jobs Mission, a coalition of 41 companies committed to hiring at least 100,000 veterans by 2020, is an example of private-sector collaboration contributing to improved recruiting practices and outcomes.

JPMorgan Chase has instituted a “High-Touch Gold Desk,” where recruiters respond to any veteran applicant within five days of receiving the individual’s application for employment. This high-touch approach is positioned to support veterans in finding the right opportunity at JPMorgan Chase, based on the applicant’s experiences and qualifications. In addition, this personal response to each and every applicant has the benefit of helping the company’s HR staff become better educated as to how military skills and experiences correlate to the firm’s different work roles. The program functions by utilizing integrated, regional teams that map veteran applications against available positions at the firm. Using those maps, the teams are able to identify positions across the firm that best match the veteran’s skills profile. This results in a process that aligns the veteran with an opportunity where he or she is most likely to find success and also facilitates an approach to recruitment and hiring that looks across lines of business, as opposed to within a given organizational silo.

Other examples of focused military recruiting are at BAE and the Lockheed Martin Corporation. BAE provides career pathways for wounded warriors through its Warrior Integration Program (WIP), which is specifically designed to identify, hire, and develop qualified wounded veterans into valuable employees. Lockheed participates in the Army Partnership for Youth Success Program (PaYS), which allows those who serve our country to plan in advance to explore private-sector job opportunities. The program gives new soldiers the opportunity to select a job with a PaYS partner during the time of enlistment. After the position has been selected, a Statement of Understanding is signed, and the PaYS employer/partner promises to interview the returning solider, as long as he or she receives an honorable discharge, is otherwise qualified, and a job vacancy exists.

Many companies, including Walmart, leverage campus recruiting and veteran service organizations, such as the Student Veterans of American (SVA). Ernst & Young organizes veteran internship fairs at schools, while AT&T leverages internships that provide veterans job shadowing opportunities.

Following are other resources positioned to support employers with veteran-focused recruiting and onboarding initiatives.

U.S. DOL Vet Employment (VETS)

VETS proudly serves veterans and service members by providing resources and expertise to assist and prepare them to obtain careers, employment opportunities, and employment rights, as well as information on transition programs. VETS offers a multitude of resources for veterans looking for jobs.

Joining Forces

Joining Forces is a great resource and offers some of the nation’s top job resources for veterans and employers, such as access to the Veterans Job Bank, links to employment tools, like My Next Move for Veterans, and many more.

Virtual Career Fair for Veterans

This event includes military-friendly employers that represent thousands of available job opportunities for veterans.

U.S. Veterans Pipeline

An effort of the 100,000 Jobs Mission, the U.S. Veterans Pipeline is a talent networking and career management platform that allows users to connect directly to peers, companies, jobs, schools, education programs, and more.

Gold Card Initiative

This joint initiative between DOL’s Employment and Training Administration (ETA) and VETS provides post-9/11 era veterans with intensive and follow-up services, necessary for success in today’s job market. Eligible veterans can present their Gold Card at any One-Stop Career Center to obtain enhanced intensive services that include up to six months of follow-up, job readiness assessment, referral to job banks, and much more.

100,000 Jobs Mission

JPMorgan Chase and the other founding corporation/coalition members are committed to working together, sharing best recruiting and employment practices, and reporting hiring results.

Hero Health Hire

This initiative is a gathering place where business leaders, government officials, and concerned citizens can learn, share information, and commit to helping our nation’s disabled veterans find and retain meaningful employment. This initiative provides information, tools, and guidance for recruiting, hiring, training, and supporting disabled veterans in the workplace.

Hire Heroes USA

Hire Heroes USA (Hire Heroes) is dedicated to creating job opportunities for U.S. military veterans and their spouses through personalized employment training and corporate engagement.

Military Spouse Corporate Career Network

Offers virtual and in-person meetings or webinars, helping military spouses with resumes, employment resources, training to update skill sets, and assistance in finding employment resources in their current location or the area to which they’re relocating.

Source: toolkit.vets.syr.edu

7 Reasons You Should Consider an MBA

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Veteran MBA degree

By Kara Sherrer

Transitioning from the military to civilian life can be challenging, and veterans all approach this life change differently. Some go into military contracting, while others immediately get a job on the civilian side.

Still, others decide to return to school after the military, and getting an MBA can be a great way for veterans to prepare themselves for a new career.

To get the full picture of how an MBA benefits veterans, Vanderbilt University sat down with Christie St-John, Director of Admissions for the MBA program at Vanderbilt Business and the admissions representative for all Armed Forces candidates. She shares the top ways that business school helps veterans.

1  Career Switching Support

Most veterans leave the military with a strong background in operations work. While many veterans can and do get a civilian position working in operations, others want to switch into a different function entirely. An MBA program’s breadth helps veterans ease into a wide variety of industries and makes it easier to start a different career path.

“An MBA gives veterans skills that they can use in many different jobs, and their transition will better, smoother, and financially enhanced with an MBA,” St-John said.

2  Bigger Starting Salaries

Getting an MBA generally results in a higher starting salary for military veterans; for perspective, the average base salary for a Class of 2017 MBA graduate at Vanderbilt Business was $113,205, plus a $25,232 signing bonus. An MBA also improves the probability of future promotions. When asked how she convinces veterans of the value of an MBA, St-John says, “I would probably go to them and say, ‘This will be your starting salary if you start a job right now, and this will be your starting salary if you graduate with an MBA.’ That, and the enhanced network, usually does it.”

3  Larger Professional Network

Going to business school will greatly expand your network beyond current and former military personnel. You’ll connect with professionals across a variety of functions and industries. Through the recruiting process, you’ll also learn how to network with people, a critical skill for navigating the civilian business world. “They don’t have to network in the service. The next promotion is offered if you are qualified, so you don’t have to make sure you socialize with the head of the unit,” St-John explains.

4  Career Resources

Business schools are invested in helping students succeed: after all, it doesn’t help anyone if students drop out or don’t get a job. “[One veteran told me,] ‘In the [military] academies, they’re trying to get you out. Business schools actually want to keep you in,’” St-John recalls, with a laugh. Business schools offer career support services, such as the Career Management Center at Vanderbilt Business, to help all students narrow down possible options, update their resumés, and prepare for interviews.

5  Veterans Clubs

In addition to career management services, many schools offer veteran clubs that give members a place to network with fellow military personnel and get advice on specific recruiting challenges for veterans. For example, “the Armed Forces Club will help [veterans] translate their military resume into a civilian resume,” St-John explains.

6  Financial Aid

Depending on the length and nature of the military officer’s service, several sources of financial support are available. Both the G.I. Bill and the Yellow Ribbon program are possible funding sources for veterans. Outside scholarships, such as those provided by the Pat Tillman Foundation, may also be an option.

7  Many Job Opportunities

Lots of civilian companies are actively looking to hire veterans for their leadership and teamwork experience and their ability to work under pressure. Veterans with MBAs are very desirable candidates for certain industries, including the high-stakes world of investment banking. “Most of the companies we work with have a specific division that is looking for military candidates,” St-John said. “[Companies want veterans] because they know they’re going to be very mature, focused, and disciplined, and they’re obviously excellent at working in teams.”

If you’re a current or former member of the Armed Forces contemplating your next move, reach out to Christie St-John to learn more about the Vanderbilt Business MBA program.

Source: business.vanderbilt.edu

Fayetteville State University and the Brian Hamilton Foundation Launch Innovative Veteran Entrepreneur Partnership

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Fayetteville State University

Fayetteville State University’s Chancellor, Dr. James Anderson, renowned entrepreneur Brian Hamilton, and Retired Maj. Gen. Rodney O. Anderson, announced the launch of a new, innovative Veteran Entrepreneur Partnership between Fayetteville State University (FSU) and the Brian Hamilton Foundation.

The Veteran Entrepreneur Partnership will provide advanced teaching, mentoring and support to assist transitioning veterans, military spouses and the FSU student entrepreneur community. The program’s objective is to provide the essential skills and knowledge needed to improve the business startup success rate.

Fayetteville State University is located at the doorstep of Fort Bragg, North Carolina, the largest military installation in the world. Fort Bragg is home to more than 50,000 active duty personnel and over 7,000+ transitioning Veterans each year.

“Fayetteville State University is always looking for new and innovative ways to support and assist our Veteran population,” stated Dr. James Anderson, Chancellor of Fayetteville State University. “We are pleased to partner with the Brian Hamilton Foundation to provide resources for Veterans, military spouses and students as they seek to become entrepreneurs.”

This innovative program will bring entrepreneur Brian Hamilton to campus as Fayetteville State University’s Entrepreneur-in-Residence (EIR) and the Distinguished Visiting Professor of Entrepreneurship.

Brian Hamilton, Founder of the Brian Hamilton Foundation and Co-Founder of Sageworks, noted, “Veterans have served the country. As leaders, we need to serve them. The qualities that make great servicemen and women – good decision-making, discipline, confidence, and the willingness to take calculated risks – are the same qualities that make successful entrepreneurs. I firmly believe there is no better opportunity than being an entrepreneur and am looking forward to working with our Veterans to prepare them to succeed.”

Currently, Fort Bragg transitioning Veterans benefit from the Army’s Soldier for Life Transition Assistance Program that provides them an opportunity to select and prepare for career transition. Entrepreneurship is one of the career pathways for transitioning Veterans and military family members. The FSU housed Veterans Business Outreach Center provides initial Boots to Business training for transitioning Veterans pursuing entrepreneurship. The Veteran Entrepreneur Partnership provides a new approach following these programs with targeted seminars and mentorship resources.

“Career transition provides Veterans an opportunity to pursue life goals and to make the transition and establish a business here in the Fayetteville, Cumberland County region. The state of North Carolina welcomes Veterans and this entrepreneur partnership provides invaluable support for Veteran success,” according to Maj Gen Rodney O. Anderson, US Army (Retired).

ABOUT THE ORGANIZERS:

Fayetteville State University is a constituent institution of The University of North Carolina and the second-oldest public institution of higher education in the state, having been founded in 1867. FSU offers degrees at the baccalaureate, master’s, and doctoral levels. With more than 6,300 students, Fayetteville State University is among the most diverse institutions in the nation. Chancellor James A. Anderson is the 11th chief executive officer.  To learn more about Fayetteville State University, visit https://www.uncfsu.edu.

The Brian Hamilton Foundation was established with one principle in mind: with the right resources and support, anyone can be a successful entrepreneur. We are helping youth, veterans and other underserved populations start and run their own businesses. By doing this, our hope is to help people take part in the American dream and climb the social and economic ladder. To learn more, visit brianhamilton.org.

Students In The Workplace Keep Industry And Academia On The Cutting Edge

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veteran student

When college students can spend several months at top international firms like Goldman Sachs, they naturally come away with valuable résumé-building experience. But what’s often left out of the conversation is the value that students inject back into the business.

Joseph Camarda, a managing director in private wealth management at Goldman Sachs in San Francisco, cited this mutually beneficial exchange when explaining why the company has partnered with Drexel University in Philadelphia to place 145 students in cooperative education positions at its U.S. offices since 2014.

“They bring a young, vibrant, innovative mind to the team and that adds a value that we want to use over and over,” he said.

By collaborating with businesses, colleges and universities can deliver on the promise of relevance for career-minded students. From co-ops and internships, to mentoring and research opportunities, they can also invigorate programs on campus and bring value to firms.

Ashley Inman, a human resources expert who has worked with college interns in several industries, recalled one intern at a construction firm who developed an app for the company to better track inventory — a strategic innovation that helped streamline sales.

“Organizations can get stuck in their ways,” she said. “The value that the students bring is a fresh perspective.”

It’s part of the reason Goldman values its partnership with the university today — 13 years after the co-op relationship began with just a few students in the company’s Philadelphia office. A number of graduates since that time have gone on to work for Goldman full-time.

“The work ethic of these students is just phenomenal,” Camarda said. “It shows up every day.”

Real-Life Reciprocity

Students, in turn, bring valuable perspectives back to campus with them – including “bottom-line” urgency that can sometimes be lacking in academia, said Inman, who sits on the talent acquisition panel of the Society for Human Resource Management.

Strong and meaningful links to industry can inform curricula and programming on campus – helping to make sure academic offerings remain relevant to the needs of industry and students seeking jobs.

Higher education, however, has typically struggled to create and maintain those links, leading to a skills gap that leaves companies with jobs they can’t fill and students who can’t get jobs.

Continue onto Forbes to read the complete article.

Three Ways Military Experience Benefits Veterans in Higher Ed

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Veterans Higher Education

By James Hinton, Master’s Student, Boise State University

I was a non-traditional student in so many different ways. A military veteran, I had come to the decision of obtaining a degree only after more than a decade in the service.

I was older than the students I shared the classroom with. I had different expectations and a different understanding of why I was there. I had a small collection of physical and mental barriers that these younger, healthier students did not.

Becoming a college student was a learning experience in and of itself. I had to learn what advantages my military service had given me when it came to participating in a university setting. I also had to learn what I needed to do to mitigate the disadvantages that came with being an older disabled veteran student. I was successful at this and did obtain my degree as a result. I’ve written this to share the things I learned that led to that success in the hopes that it will be helpful to other veterans who are exploring a college education.

  1. Pre-planning

While working my way through my degree I discovered that most of the traditional students were making things up on the fly. They had the list of requirements towards graduation and access to the school schedules, but they generally took things semester by semester. It was fairly common for me to hear a stressed out 20-year-old fretting over having graduation delayed by a year because of a cancelled class or overlooked prerequisite.

As a former NCO, I found that I easily avoided these issues. I was able to look over the requirements and plot out a complete action plan, ensuring that I had not only planned out all prerequisites, but that I had left extra time in the schedule in case any classes were delayed or cancelled. I was able to enroll in the classes I needed when I needed them on the first day of enrollment and not have to worry or face delays. Military vets have the training to be able to plan their education like they plan a mission, and enjoy the success that comes from that.

  1. You have unique benefits

One of the biggest worries I saw students spend hours over was that of finances. Education is expensive today (though it’s less expensive than ignorance). These students spent hours worrying over Stafford loans, Pell grants, and scholarships.

As a military vet you have access to the GI Bill, of course. You should already be familiar with it thanks to numerous briefings from when you were in, so I won’t go into detail here. I am going to point out that there are additional options as well. Do you have a service-related disability? You could be eligible for Vocational Rehab through the VA.

There are also scholarships out there specifically for veterans, regardless of whether you are injured or not. Some examples would be the scholarships offered by the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the American Legion, and the Disabled American Veterans. This means that you can spend time focused on studying and not on worry over affording the degree.

  1. Your disadvantages can be planned around

Unfortunately, being a veteran in the learning environment can have its disadvantages. Fortunately, they can all be planned around and overcome. You just need to plan for them.

If you have physical disabilities stemming from your military service, you have the right to reasonable accommodations. Whether these accommodations include wheelchair accessible classrooms, closed captioning on videos, or the presence of a service animal, you have the right to these as a student. To be safe, plan ahead and work with the campus Disability Services office to make sure there are no unhappy surprises on the first day of class.

Similarly, if you have mental disabilities, you also have the right to reasonable accommodation. If you have PTSD or a similar anxiety issue you can receive attendance wavers allowing you to step out of the class at need, for example. Even in extreme cases, you can still receive your education if you plan ahead. A significant number of public universities are offering entire degree programs online. I took several online classes and found them to be the least stressful of all my classes, socially, while still being just as rigorous academically as anything I experienced in a traditional classroom.

Being a veteran in the classroom carries with it certain advantages, and certain disadvantages as well. Fortunately, your experiences as a Soldier, Sailor, Airman, or Marine have given you everything you need to be successful in a degree program. Plan ahead, take advantage of your resources, and don’t let your disabilities get in the way. Get that degree and soldier on.

This article was originally published by The EvoLLLution (evoLLLution.com)

83-Year-Old Veteran to Receive Ph.D. from LSU

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Johnnie Jones’ age isn’t stopping him from learning. In fact, the 83-year-old veteran will receive his Ph.D. from LSU on Friday, Dec. 14.

“Every person regardless of his station in life, or his or her limitations, should seek to be the best he or she can really be. And you spend your time living not thinking about dying. Death will take care of itself,” Jones said.

Jones used that focus to pursue a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree and a Ph.D., and he has hopes of going to law school next.

“I want to study law. I have no intention of being an attorney; I simply want to go to law school for the knowledge, and I’m sure there will be students in the class who think I’m nuts, but so what?”

Jones was born in Mississippi and at the age of 18, joined the Marine Corps. His LSU education started while he was deployed to Vietnam as a squad leader.

“I wanted to stay connected, so to speak. I didn’t want to run the risk of losing interest because I had begun studies at San Diego Community College when I went to Vietnam,” Jones said. “LSU’s correspondence course was offered to any student, regardless where they were or what their status was, so I just happened to take advantage of the program.”

After he left Vietnam, Jones received a degree in sociology from the University of Hawaii.

“From Hawaii I moved back to California, where I submitted a number of applications for graduate school, and LSU came through first, plus I had already been taking a course from LSU, so I settled on LSU.”

Jones received a Master’s of Social Work from LSU in 1975 and was about nine hours short of his Ph.D. when he received a job offer from the Department of Corrections. He would retire 25 years later as the warden for the women’s prison.

“Of course, having a family and young children, I took the job and that’s how that turned out,” Jones said. “And as a consequence, I ran out the required seven year time period that they give you to complete the Ph.D. So I had to start all over again from scratch.”

Jones started over, but another set-back prevented him from receiving a Ph.D.

“I had a serious health problem and again, I had completed all of the requirements for the Ph.D. in human ecology, but I had to drop out because of health reasons.”

Just when he was ready to start working toward the degree for the third time, Jones said a professor helped him get an extension, allowing him to complete his dissertation and not have to start over again.

“My dissertation was about racism and religion and specifically the perceptions of racism and the stress that black families experience as a result, and how religion serves as a coping strategy.”

Jones said the state provides free tuition for students over 65 years old and said LSU’s faculty have both supported and challenged him. He added, the other students have enjoyed having him in class.

“It was really comical, most of my classmates are young enough to be my grandchildren and they found it amazing at my age that I would be sitting in a classroom. They thought I was nuts. They didn’t quite understand what motivated me. They’re all preparing for occupations, but my occupation was over. I had retired. I was just there for self-edification,” said Jones. “I told them the reason why I was doing that, is because to me age is something that we have been socialized to believe that it is one of the most important things in our life. At 15, you’re supposed to be doing this, at 25 you’re supposed to be doing this, at 65…that’s arbitrary. I think you should not cease pursuing whatever it is you’re interested in because of age. Your only limitation that you should have is mental or physical, other than that you should keep on pushing.”

Continue onto Louisiana State University Newsroom to read the complete article.

Applications are now open for the 2019 STEM Research Experience for Veteran Undergraduates (REVU) Program

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Yale STEM program

REVU is a 10-week summer research program held at Yale University and designed for Warrior-Scholar Project (WSP) alumni and enlisted U.S. military veterans.

Research opportunities currently include astrophysics, chemistry, ecology & evolutionary biology, geology, nanomaterials, neural circuit development, neural network computation, nuclear & particle astrophysics, optics, and pathology. Select research fellows will work directly with Yale faculty and researchers on a project aligned with their scientific interests.

Fellows will also engage in an active professional development program aimed at developing the skills necessary to become successful STEM researchers both in the REVU program and at their home institutions.

The REVU Program will run from May 29 to July 31, 2019 at Yale University.

Applications are due on January 15, 2019, 11:59 pm EST.

To apply or learn more visit campuspress.yale.edu/revu/

What Service Members Should Know When Choosing a College

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Veteran MBA degree

Thinking about college? You already have the discipline it takes to pursue higher education. From big universities to small colleges, you have plenty of options and each has something unique to offer. Here’s how to compare your college options and find the right institution for your education goals.

Things to consider about college

Look beyond the beautiful lawns and libraries in all those college brochures. You need to balance the cost and logistics of going to school with what you want to accomplish with your degree. There’s a right fit for you and your priorities.

  • Tuition and costs. While most schools offer tuition assistance to service members, certain institutions can be more affordable, like in-state or public universities. Private schools can sometimes be costly. To reduce the amount of debt you graduate with, research each school’s tuition and financial aid offerings carefully.
  • Courses and programs. Some schools specialize in certain areas of study, such as engineering or nursing. If you have a specific area of focus that you want to pursue, narrow down your choices to schools with those programs. If you’re considering graduate school or a higher professional degree, look into which schools offer those specific fields of study to help you make the next transition to graduate school.
  • Location. Choosing a nearby state school or local private college allows you to stay in your current location and commute from home to class. By enrolling in evening or weekend classes you could continue to work or maintain your status in the services.

How to choose

Once you know what your college goals are, these tools can help you find the right fit for your needs.

  • The College Navigator lets you search through over 7,000 schools. Compare location, tuition, courses and financial aid information for universities and colleges nationwide. You can even save your searches to a spreadsheet to revisit and revise your list.
  • The Department of Defense’s Tuition Assistance program provides information on tuition costs at over 2,600 schools that are eligible to receive military tuition assistance. Compare costs, fees, grants, GI Bill® and other financial aid opportunities.
  • Search the Department of Defense’s Voluntary Education Memorandum of Understanding site to see which schools are participating in the federal tuition assistance program.

There are so many resources for service members to find the right college or university at the right cost, no matter where you live or what you hope to study. Military OneSource is here to help you start the next chapter. Call 800-342-9647 anytime to schedule a specialty consultation with one of our education professionals.

Source: militaryonesource.mil

How Can the Yellow Ribbon Program Help You?

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Veterans Education

The Yellow Ribbon Program can help you pay for higher out-of-state, private school, or graduate school tuition that the Post-9/11 GI Bill doesn’t cover. Find out if your school is a part of this program.

Can I get this benefit?

You can get this benefit if you meet both of the requirements listed below.

Both of these must be true:

  • You qualify for the maximum benefit rate under the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and
  • Your school takes part in the Yellow Ribbon Program and has confirmed your enrollment with us

You may be able to get this benefit if you’re the dependent of a Veteran who qualifies for transfer of entitlement for the Post-9/11 GI Bill.

Transferring Post-9/11 GI Bill Benefits

Find out if you can transfer any of your unused Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits to your spouse or dependent children.

Note: The Department of Defense (DoD) decides whether you can transfer benefits to your family.

Can I transfer benefits?

You can transfer benefits if you’re on active duty or in the Selected Reserve and you meet the requirements listed below.

At least one of these must be true:

  • You have completed at least 6 years of service on the date your request is approved and you agree to add 4 more years of service, or
  • You have completed at least 10 years of service on the date your request is approved, can’t commit to add 4 more years of service because of either a policy or statute, but agree to serve for the maximum amount of time allowed.

And this must also be true:

The person getting benefits has enrolled in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS).

Who’s covered?

Qualified dependents.

What benefits can my qualified dependents get?

If the DoD approves the Transfer of Entitlement (TOE), your spouse or dependent children can apply for up to 36 months of benefits, and may be able to get money for:

  • Tuition
  • Housing
  • Books and supplies

When can they use the transferred benefits?

These conditions apply to family members using transferred benefits:

Spouses

  • May use the benefit right away
  • May use the benefit while you’re on active duty or after you’ve separated from service
  • Don’t qualify for the monthly housing allowance while you’re on active duty
  • May use the benefit for up to 15 years after your separation from active duty

Children

  • May start to use the benefit only after you’ve finished at least 10 years of service
  • May use the benefit while you’re on active duty or after you’ve separated from service
  • May not use the benefit until they’ve gotten a high school diploma (or equivalency certificate), or have reached 18 years of age
  • Qualify for the monthly housing allowance even when you’re on active duty
  • Don’t have to use the benefit within 15 years after your separation from active duty, but can’t use the benefit after they’ve turned 26 years old

Your dependents may still qualify even if a child marries or you and your spouse divorce. However, Servicemembers and Veterans can revoke (cancel) or change a TOE at any time. If you want to totally revoke transferred benefits for a dependent and you’re still in the service, please turn in another transfer request for the dependent through milConnect. If a dependent’s transfer eligibility (ability to get a TOE) has been totally revoked, you can’t transfer benefits again to that dependent.

How do I transfer the benefit?

While you’re still on active duty, you’ll request to transfer, change, or revoke a Transfer of Entitlement (TOE) through milConnect.

If the DoD approves the TOE, your family members may apply for benefits.

  • Apply online now, or
  • Apply by mail. Fill out and mail an Application for Family Member to Use Transferred Benefits (VA Form 22-1990E) to the nearest VA regional office.

Once you leave active duty, you can still provide a future effective date for when the TOE can be used, change the number of months transferred, or revoke the TOE by submitting a written request to VA through milConnect.

Get more information

What benefits can I get?

Money for tuition

How do I get this benefit?

  1. Apply for benefits

Apply for Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits, visit www.vets.gov/education

If you qualify for benefits, you’ll get a Certificate of Eligibility (COE).

  1. Turn in your COE

Bring your COE to your school’s certifying official, or to the financial aid, military liaison, or other office as determined by your school, and ask to apply to your school’s Yellow Ribbon Program.

  1. Wait for a decision

Your school will decide:

—Whether it has already enrolled the maximum number of students for the program period. Enrollment is on a first-come, first-served basis. We have an agreement with each school about on how many students may be covered each year.

—How much the entitlement will be. Your school decides this amount by adding up tuition and mandatory fees, and then subtracting any specific aid you’ve gotten from other sources—such as scholarships or grants, as well as your Post-9/11 GI Bill tuition payment. Your school applies the Yellow Ribbon Program benefit to this final amount.

  1. Follow up

You’ll get a notice from your school about whether it has accepted you into the program and how much money you’ll get for tuition.

Source: vets.gov/education/gi-bill/transfer

Embry-Riddle Graduate Student Motivates Fellow Veterans

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Veteran and ERAU alum Amanda Meurer

By Deborah Circelli

Standing in front of fellow veterans, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University graduate student Amanda Meurer gives these first-year students study tips and other skills on being successful.

By her side is Mako, a golden retriever service dog who helps the U.S. Army veteran with anxiety and her diagnosed post-traumatic stress disorder. Mako has been with Meurer since this summer through the K9s For Warriors program. He is able to sense when she’s anxious and signals her to pet him which soothes her anxiety. Mako is also trained to help her with mobility.

“In the military when you have a friend with you it is called a battle buddy. Now, I have a battle buddy that just happens to be a dog,” she said.

Meurer, seeking her Master’s degree in Human Security & Resilience with Embry-Riddle’s Worldwide Campus, spent eight months in a military camp in Iraq that faced mortar and rocket attacks. She was a wheeled vehicle mechanic with the 8th Attack Reconnaissance Battalion, 229th Aviation Regiment nicknamed the “Flying Tigers.” In addition to PTSD, she suffered shoulder and back injuries maintaining ground vehicles and was placed on medical retirement and honorably discharged.

Today, as a peer mentor, she teaches new student veterans UNIV 101, which is everything from how to plan class schedules for their Academic Study Plan to what services are available on campus and in the community.  She received a bachelor’s degree in May in Homeland Security and has also worked at the Veteran Student Services office helping veterans adjust to college life.

“When you are in the veteran community, you are part of a different brother and sisterhood. It’s nice to have people you can be yourself around,” Meurer said. “I want to be able to help student veterans and hopefully they will be able to help someone else one day.”

It took Meurer a couple of months to come out of her shell when she transferred to Embry-Riddle in 2015 from a community college in Kentucky, following a little over five years in the Army. But once she did, she found her place in leadership positions, including helping to reestablish the Student Veterans Organization and serving on organizations, including the Homeland Security Student Association, the Order of the Sword and Shield security studies honor society, Omicron Delta Kappa’s leadership honor society and Sigma Sigma Sigma sorority.

“She can relate to what student veterans are going through in their transition from the military to college life,” said Dawn McGowan, UNIV 101 instructor for the veterans course and former director of Veteran Student Services. “She is a great communicator and motivates students to be successful.”

Meurer ultimately hopes to work for a government law enforcement or intelligence agency as a way of continuing to give back. She’s passionate about wanting to end the opioid crisis, which has impacted her hometown in Kentucky.

“I may not be wearing the uniform, but I’ll be able to serve through the civil sector,” she said.

Photo Credit: Embry-Riddle/Daryl LaBello