Distance is No Obstacle to Gaining a Naval War College Diploma

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Graduates

Since its pilot course in 1914, the College of Distance Education at U.S. Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island, has celebrated more than a century of education, graduating more than 145,000 military and civilian students worldwide.

It is the goal of CDE to provide NWC’s superlative education to students around the globe, helping develop leaders and encourage excellence the world over.

“Not everybody can physically come to the NWC and attend in residence,” said Timothy Garrold, deputy director of CDE. “There are so many qualified students and a very finite number of seats in Newport. CDE greatly expands the opportunity for people to get this education, fulfill the Joint Professional Military Education Phase I (JPME-I) requirement, and share the NWC experience.”

The three main CDE courses are Strategy and War, Theater Security Decision Making, and Joint Maritime Operations. In CDE programs, these courses are adaptations of the curriculum offered in residence; the main difference is the method in which the materials are presented.

Students may choose any of four methods to complete their coursework: The Fleet Seminar Program, composed of faculty-led seminars provided at 19 select locations across the U.S.; a web-enabled program; a CD ROM-based program; and the Naval War College-at-Naval Postgraduate School (NWC-at-NPS) program in Monterey, California, which is a partnership between NWC and the Naval Postgraduate School through which students may complete their JPME-I qualification while earning a NPS master’s degree.

“The four programs we offer now really give prospective students an opportunity to assess both what they have time to do and how they want to learn,” said Garrold.

NWC’s CDE is open to U.S. officers of all military services and to eligible U.S. federal government civilian employees, in addition to a limited number of foreign officers. All prospective students can enroll by filling out and submitting an application for review. Applications for each CDE program can be found on the NWC website at usnwc.edu/Academics/College-of-Distance-Education.aspx/.

Capt. Todd Gaston, a Marine Corps officer stationed at the Naval Justice School in Newport, Rhode Island, opted for the Fleet Seminar Program. Despite being in the area, Gaston decided to enroll in CDE instead of going through NWC’s resident program.

“The resident course is great, but CDE allows me to do my job as a lawyer and still better my education,” Gaston said. “Especially in the legal field, you need to be on site, doing your job to get better at providing command advice. CDE is a very beneficial option for me.”

Lt. Cmdr. Leslie Councilor, a recent CDE graduate, agreed. Councilor participated in the Fleet Seminar Program in both Bremerton, Washington, and Norfolk. She now works at U.S Fleet Forces Command in Norfolk as the Navy’s only Fleet Medical Laboratory scientist.

Being a leader in Navy Medicine, Councilor had a desire to learn more about the Navy as a whole, knowing a better understanding would assist her in her medical work. Councilor studied from fall 2013 until spring 2016, constantly learning from the positions and experiences of her military and civilian peers.

“I now have a better understanding of how the Navy enterprise accomplishes its purposes of maritime protection and governess of U.S. interests worldwide,” Councilor said. “Now, as a medical professional, I can assist that demographic with their proper health care needs. The knowledge I gained cannot be overstated; I am a better Sailor and naval officer from my NWC experience.”

Though the Fleet Seminar Program most closely resembles the experience of resident NWC students, the faculty and staff in CDE have worked to make sure the web- and CD ROM-based programs are as engaging as possible.

“Originally, our distance education program was a box of books and a test that arrived on your doorstep,” said Garrold. “Students in this day and age are not going to be satisfied with that. They’re used to being challenged, multi-tasking and interacting.”

Educational specialists, web designers, and programmers on the CDE staff do research to find out how technology can be used to better the learning experience. Both the web-enabled and CD ROM-based programs have evolved to include embedded videos and other multimedia presentations in addition to readings. Students are also encouraged to contact professors at the NWC directly if they have questions.

Regardless of the program, CDE students participate in graduate-level research, reading, essay writing, active learning opportunities, and exams that extensively prepare them for their future careers. Though the courses may be completed in any sequence and through any program, only students who complete coursework via the Fleet Seminar Program are eligible for the NWC Master of Arts Degree in Defense and Strategic Studies. Otherwise, students who complete the program requirements earn graduate credit, a NWC diploma, and JPME-I credit.

For more news from Naval War College, visit navy.mil/local/nwc/.

Source: navy.mil

Where to Live When You Leave the Military?

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Transitioning Veterans

The day will come when you decide to leave the military. You might have spent many hours thinking about where you want to live and when to get out. Now it’s time to get practical. When deciding where to live after your military separation, it’s helpful to consider:

  • Your family’s wishes
  • Career opportunities
  • Education
  • Cost of living

Talk with Your Family

The decision about your next home will affect the entire family, so include them in every step of the process. Think about the following:

  • Career and educational opportunities—Does your spouse want to pursue a career? Now’s the time to provide that chance. What about the kids? Where are the best schools? Base your decisions on what will be good for the whole family.
  • Extended family—How close do you want to be to your extended family – “See you tomorrow” close or “See you on holidays” close? As you think about this, take a careful look at your hometown and evaluate the job market, schools, and cost of living.
  • Career Goals—A new job might determine where you live after military separation. Connect with the Transition Assistance Program and get tips and information to help you with your job search. (You have six months to a year to take advantage of your final relocation benefits, so don’t feel rushed into moving before you find a job.)

Find the Best Places to Live

After you’ve narrowed your search to a handful of cities or states, you can dive a little deeper. Make a list and prioritize what is most important to you, like job opportunities, schools, climate, or cost of living. Then, do your research to find the best match.

The following can help you make the military to civilian transition a little easier:

  • Take advantage of resources like the Relocation Assistance Program and the Transition Assistance Program—Contact program representatives early on to discuss potential places to live. Staff and volunteers can give you information on real estate and rentals in the area and provide chamber of commerce material.
  • Search websites—Many websites can help you find the best places to live by letting you arrange the importance of categories like education, crime rates, climate, and housing costs. You can narrow your search by preferences or compare your favorite cities.
  • Find local information—Search for an area’s information by visiting community or chamber of commerce websites, talking to real estate agents, and reading the local newspaper.
  • Identify unique, personal preferences—Some preferences can’t be factored into a test on a website. You may want to live close to a military installation so you and your family can take advantage of military benefits, or you may want to move near a particular reserve unit where you can train in a specialized area.

Make the Decision

You’ve done the background work—now is the time to make your decision. No outcome is guaranteed, but careful evaluation will help you choose the best option for you and your family. At this point, you might want to:

  • Weigh your options—Write down the available choices and assess the pros and cons of each. Use your list to help you look objectively at options.
  • Prepare for mixed emotions—Be prepared for different kinds of feelings as you make the change from military to civilian life.
  • Visit the transportation management office—As soon as you’ve made your decision, visit the transportation management office. Your installation office will schedule your final move. The earlier you visit, the more likely you can get the move dates you want.

Access Military Support

Your relocation benefits include one final move from your last duty station within the time and geographic limits listed below. If you live in installation housing, you may be allowed one move out of housing into the local community and another final move within these limits. Check with your installation’s transportation management office for details on benefits specific to your final move.

  • Retirement—You may be moved anywhere within the United States (including Alaska and Hawaii) or to your home of record outside the United States within one year of your retirement date. (This is called a home of selection.)
  • Involuntary separation (honorable discharge)—You may be moved anywhere within the United States (including Alaska and Hawaii) or to your home of record outside the United States within one year of your separation date.
  • Voluntary separation (honorable discharge)—You may be moved to your home of record (or an equal or lesser distance) within 180 days of your separation date. If you choose a destination of greater distance, you will be obligated to pay the additional costs.
  • General discharge (under honorable conditions)—You may be moved to your home of record (or an equal or lesser distance) within 180 days of your separation.

If you or another veteran is without a home or facing eviction or foreclosure while transitioning out of military service, the Department of Veterans Affairs can help. Call 877-4AID-VET (424-3838), or chat with them online to be connected to the homelessness prevention resources department.

Finding a place to call home after you separate from the military is one of the first big steps to civilian life. Fortunately, you have access to a number of benefits and resources that can help you with this transition. Educate yourself with the right information and you’ll be enjoying home sweet home soon.

Source: militaryonesource.mil

How to Use the Military Tuition Assistance Program

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veteran student

If you’ve thought about going to college, but didn’t know if you could afford it, then the Military Tuition Assistance program may be just the benefit you need. The program is available to active duty, National Guard and Reserve Component service members. While the decision to pursue a degree may be a difficult one personally, TA can lessen your financial concerns considerably, since it now pays up to 100 percent of tuition expenses for semester hours costing $250 or less.

Courses and degree programs may be academic or technical and can be taken from two- or four-year institutions on-installation, off-installation or by distance learning. An accrediting body recognized by the Department of Education must accredit the institution. Your service branch pays your tuition directly to the school. Service members need to first check with an education counselor for the specifics involving TA by visiting their local installation education office or by going online to a virtual education center. Tuition assistance may be used for the following programs:

  • Vocational/technical programs
  • Undergraduate programs
  • Graduate programs
  • Independent study
  • Distance-learning programs

Eligibility

All four service branches and the U.S. Coast Guard offer financial assistance for voluntary, off-duty education programs in support of service members’ personal and professional goals. The program is open to officers, warrant officers and enlisted active duty service personnel. In addition, members of the National Guard and Reserve Components may be eligible for TA based on their service eligibility. To be eligible for TA, an enlisted service member must have enough time remaining in service to complete the course for which he or she has applied. After the completion of a course, an officer using TA must fulfill a service obligation that runs parallel with – not in addition to – any existing service obligation.

Coverage Amounts and Monetary Limits

The Tuition Assistance Program will fund up to 100 percent of your college tuition and certain fees with the following limits:

  • Not to exceed $250 per semester credit hour or $166 per quarter credit hour
  • Not to exceed $4,500 per fiscal year, October 1 through September 30

Tuition Assistance Versus the VA Education Benefits

While the TA program is offered by the services, the Department of Veterans Affairs administers a variety of education benefit programs. Some of the VA programs, such as the Post-9/11 Veterans Education Assistance Act of 2008, also known as the Post-9/11 GI Bill®, can work well with the TA program, as it can supplement fees not covered by TA. In addition, the Post-9/11 GI Bill® funds are available to you for up to 15 years after you leave the military. The TA program is a benefit that is available only while you’re in the service.

Tuition Assistance Benefits and Restrictions

Tuition assistance will cover the following expenses:

  • Tuition
  • Course-specific fees such as laboratory fee or online course fee

Note: All fees must directly relate to the specific course enrollment of the service member.

Tuition assistance will not cover the following expenses:

  • Books and course materials
  • Flight training fees
  • Taking the same course twice
  • Continuing education units, or CEUs

Keep in mind that TA will not fund your college courses, and you will have to reimburse any funds already paid if any of the following situations occur:

  • Leaving the service before the course ends
  • Quitting the course for reasons other than personal illness, military transfer or mission requirements
  • Failing the course

Application Process

Each military branch has its own TA application form and procedures. To find out how to get started, visit your local installation education center. Prior to your course enrollment, you may be required to develop an education plan or complete TA orientation. Be sure to keep the following important information in mind when you apply:

  • Military tuition assistance may only be used to pursue degree programs at colleges and universities in the United States that are regionally or nationally accredited by an accrediting body recognized by the U.S Department of Education. A quick way to check the accreditation of a school is by visiting the Department of Education.
  • Your service’s education center must approve your military tuition assistance before you enroll in a course.

Top-up Program

The Top-up program allows funds from the Montgomery GI Bill®-Active Duty or the Post-9/11 GI Bill to be used for tuition and fees for high-cost courses that are not fully covered by TA funds.

  • Eligibility. To use Top-up, your service branch must approve you for TA. You also must be eligible for the Post-9/11 GI Bill® or the Montgomery GI Bill®-Active Duty.
  • Application. First apply for TA in accordance with procedures of your service branch. After you have applied for TA, you will need to complete VA Form 22-1990 to apply for Department of Veterans Affairs education benefits. The form is available online from the VA. Make sure you specify “Top-up” on the application and mail it one of the education processing offices listed on the form.

Other supplemental funding possibilities

Aside from using the MGIB-AD or Post-9/11 GI Bill for items such as tuition and fees not covered by TA, there are other funding opportunities available to service members including the following:

  • Federal and state financial aid. The federal government provides $150 billion per year in grants, work-study programs and federal loans to college students. The aid comes in several forms, including need-based programs such as Pell grants, subsidized Stafford Loans, Supplemental Educational Opportunity grants and federal work/study programs. You can also get low-interest loans through the federal government. Visit Federal Student Aid to find out more or complete an online application for FAFSA at no cost to you.

Source: militaryonesource.mil

Caregiver Shares the Untold Children’s Story: Hero At Home

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hero at home book cover

New book explains physical injuries of wounded Veterans to children

For the three young daughters of wounded veteran, Michael Verardo, his missing limb is a symbol of heroism. After Verardo’s oldest daughter told her mother, Sarah, before bed one evening that, “Someone told me Daddy is gross, but he isn’t gross, he’s a hero!”; the family realized there was no book that explained these types of wounds to children.  Sarah Verardo is the wife and Caregiver to Michael, and also the Executive Director of The Independence Fund.  Following her daughter’s bedtime declaration, she decided to do something to help all children understand the serious injuries of war, so she authored and published a first of its kind children’s book, Hero At Home. Complete with captivating imagery and illustrations of a wounded Veteran, Hero at Home, is an educational and heart-warming story that normalizes these catastrophic conditions and teaches even very young readers how to welcome, understand, and support these resilient veterans and their families.

“There are many military families, who struggle with explaining the complex injuries to their own children, and even more so with children who are not exposed to this life on a daily basis,” said Sarah. “Our goal with this book is to be able to describe this in a way that allows children to understand the sacrifices made by our Nations wounded Veterans; and to see that they are truly heroes.”

Michael is one of the most severely wounded Veterans from the Global War on Terror. While serving as an infantryman with the 82nd Airborne in Afghanistan, he sustained catastrophic and life changing injuries in 2010. His long road home has included more than100 surgeries and years of speech, visual, physical and occupational therapies. Sarah has dedicated her life to the care and recovery of her husband, and to Veterans and Caregivers nationwide in addition to raising their family. Sarah and Michael live outside Charlotte, North Carolina with their three young daughters and three golden labs. They know that for the severely wounded, the fight never truly ends. They proudly continue their service on the home front by supporting the enactment of policies, programs, and changes to improve the lives and the future for severely wounded veterans and their families.

Sarah Verardo will travel to Los Angeles, San Antonio, and Salt Lake City in the coming weeks to share the story of Hero At Home.

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About The Independence Fund

Founded in 2007, The Independence Fund is committed to empowering our nation’s severely wounded, injured, or ill Veterans to overcome physical, mental, and emotional wounds incurred in the line of duty. We are dedicated to improving the lives of both our Veterans and their families. Through four distinct pillars of support, the Mobility, Caregiver, Adaptive Sports, and Advocacy programs, The Independence Fund bridges the gap of unmet needs for Veterans and their caregivers.

For more details regarding the Independence Fund’s mission, how to get involved, or to make a donation, please visit www.independencefund.org or call (888)-851-7996.

Rescued From a Burn Pit, Soldier Fights to Bring Dog Home With Him

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Mimi Rescue Dog

NEW YORK, NY – (May 8, 2018) – May is National Military Appreciation Month, making it a great time to do something for those who help protect the nation. There’s one soldier stationed in Afghanistan who is looking for some help this month, as he strives to bring Mimi, his beloved dog, home to the U.S. with him. While it may sound like an easy task, it’s actually a challenge that he can only accomplish through the help of others. Paws of War is leading the fight to help U.S. Army Spec. Zachery McEntire be able to bring the dog that he saved back home with him.

“Mimi is very special to Zack, and we will do everything we can to help keep them together,” explains Robert Misseri, co-founder of Paws of War. “However, bringing a dog from Afghanistan back to the United States is challenging and costly. We can’t do it without the help of the public.”

The process is complicated and the cost to bring Mimi back home with Zack is around $6,000, which covers quarantine, necessary veterinary care, paperwork, and transport charges. The dog is expected to land at JFK airport in June 2018. For one person it is a hefty sum, but for many people who chip in a little bit each, it’s easy to meet that expense and bring the dog to the U.S. The story of how they met is one that further strengthens the bonds between the two.

Zack climbed 50 feet down a garbage burn pit that was filled with used medical supplies in order to save the puppy. The two immediately bonded and Mimi because the brightest part of his day and the most comforting part of his night. Being stationed in one of the most dangerous places in the world, Mimi brought him a sense of peace and comfort that he wouldn’t have otherwise had. Unless he is able to bring Mimi back home to Texas with him, she would end up out on the streets living a harsh life or would end up euthanized.

“I know that I saved Mimi from that burn pit, but in a way I feel like she saved me,” explains Zachery McEntire. “I can’t imagine leaving her behind. We belong together and it means a lot to me to be able to take her home to Texas with me.”

Paws of War has teamed up with the group Nowzad Dogs in Afghanistan to assist with the complex task of getting Mimi to the U.S. Those who would like to donate to help keep Mimi and Zack together can do so online:

pawsofwar.networkforgood.com/projects/52658-war-torn-pups-operation-mimi

“We are committed to helping our soldiers with situations like this Mimi with Zackas we know how much it means to them,” says Dori Scofield, co-founder of Paws of War. “But we can’t do it without the assistance of the public. This is a great way to give back to those who give us so much.”

Paws of War is an all volunteer organization that provides assistance to military members and their pets, and provides service and service dogs to veterans suffering from PTSD. To learn more about Paws of War or make a donation to support their efforts, visit their site at: pawsofwar.org.

 

About Paws of War

Paws of War is a 501c3 organization devoted to helping both animals and veterans. The Paws of War goal is to train and place shelter dogs to serve and provide independence to our United States military veterans that suffer from the emotional effects of war such as PTSD. In turn each veteran can experience the therapeutic and unconditional love only a companion animal can bring. To learn more about Paws of War, visit the site at pawsofwar.org.

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Ready for Take-Off: G-FORCE Launches National Veteran Franchise Initiative

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G-Force

BEDFORD, N.H. G-FORCE™, one of only two Veteran-focused franchise brands and the only one of its kind awarding franchises exclusively to Veterans, is ready for take-off. The New Hampshire-based concept, which provides expert parking lot striping and other pavement marking needs, seeks to provide business ownership opportunities to hundreds of military Veterans across the country with its one-of-a-kind franchise opportunity.

With one location already servicing various parts of New Hampshire and Massachusetts, G-FORCE™ hopes to open as many as 50 new units over the next 3-5 years. According to founder and CEO Jack Child, the expansion will be accomplished exclusively through franchising and will initially target various cities throughout California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, Ohio and Texas.

“We know the challenges many of our Veterans face when they return to civilian life and, while there are more resources and assistance programs than ever before to help, there’s always more that can and should be done,” said Child. “We want to do our part. We’ve created a one-of-a-kind, low cost franchise business opportunity just for Veterans.”

Child himself is a more than 10-year veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces, having spent three years in the enlisted ranks of the U.S. Army and seven years in the U.S. Air Force as an officer and pilot. He also has seven years of experience in the pavement services and franchise industries.

With attention-grabbing, distinctive camouflage trucks and serviceG-Force trailers, state-of-the-art equipment and military-influenced logo and uniforms, G-FORCE™ has built its brand around today’s Veteran.

Founded in 2017, G-FORCE™ prides itself as the go-to resource for all things line striping and pavement marking – New Layout, Re-Stripe, ADA Compliance, Stencil Markings, Warehouse Flooring, Parking Structure Markings, Outdoor Basketball Courts, Athletic Field Markings and more. Other routine maintenance services G-FORCE™ franchisees may offer include: parking lot sign installation, sealcoating, crack sealing, hot and cold asphalt repairs, new paving, power washing and other property services.

“This is a stealth business that few know about, but one where the demand for our services is unquestionable,” said Child. “Look around. Parking lots are everywhere; strip malls, hospitals, office buildings, schools, municipal airports, town streets. They all require proper pavement markings by law. Somebody has to install them and somebody has to re-stripe them numerous times over.”

To augment the company’s growth, G-FORCE™ is seeking military Veterans, including active Guard or Reserve, interested in starting a business built on the values of integrity, reliability, respect, and precision, and one that ensures first class, military-style service. The franchise fee starts at just $5,000 and generally ranges between $7,500 and $15,000 depending upon territory size. The initial investment can start as low as $25,000.

G-Force“Veterans have the best leadership training in the world. In addition to coming from an integrity-focused background, they are mission-oriented and have a call to fulfill a higher purpose – all traits needed to run a successful business,” added Child. ‘With our low investment, G-FORCE™ is a more comfortable approach for Veterans to become entrepreneurs and answer the call.”

To date, G-FORCE™ has secured national corporate sponsorships for its Veteran initiative from GemSeal®, Sherwin-Williams®, Graco Industries® and The Pavement Stencil Company offering incentives such as a free traffic paint starter package and nationwide discount pricing for equipment and paints, over $7,000 in value, to each new G-FORCE™ franchisee.

To learn more on the G-FORCE™ franchise opportunity, please visit gogforce.com/parking-lot-striping-pavement-marking-franchise-opportunity/.

About G-FORCE

Founded in 2017 and franchising since 2018, G-FORCE™ is a franchise built by veterans for veterans that provides expert Parking Lot Striping, Pavement Marking, Sign Installation Services and more. Today, there is one location servicing various parts of New Hampshire and Massachusetts. For more information, visit gogforce.com.

5 Tips for winning scholarship applications

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TFS Scholarships

Scholarships are a great way to pay for college, and unlike loans they don’t need to be repaid. But winning scholarships takes time, dedication, intensive research, and hard work—especially for essays. It’s deadline time for college applications, so it’s important to start the search for free money now!

The Internet has made the search easy and free, and scholarship databases like Tuition Funding Sources (TFS) offers access to 7 million scholarships and $41 billion in financial aid. Start by filling in the registration; then with a click, the site searches to find any scholarships for which you might qualify. The more information you provide about yourself, the more matches TFS can make.

Undergraduate and graduate students can search for scholarships that fit their interests. The majority of scholarship opportunities featured on TFS Scholarships come directly from colleges and universities, rather than solely from competitive national pools – thereby increasing the chances of finding scholarships that are the best match for students. Each month TFS adds more than 5,000 new scholarships to its database, maximizing the number of opportunities students have to earn funding for their education.

Richard Sorensen, President of TFS, suggests these tips when applying for scholarships:

  1. Apply for smaller scholarships

Many students look for scholarships that offer big awards but those are also the most competitive. Scholarships with smaller awards are easier to obtain because fewer students are competing for them. These scholarships can help with college costs such as books and living expenses.

  1. Customize your essay

Scholarship judges can tell if you’ve adapted a previously written essay to meet their criteria. Customize your application and use the beginning of your essay to showcase your personality and set yourself apart. Remember, the time you are spending to tailor your essay can be rewarded with a college debt free future.

  1. Submit scholarship applications early

Meet the deadlines and don’t wait until the due date. If the organization asks you to mail the application, don’t try to email it and if there is a maximum word count limit, don’t go over it. Most scholarship providers receive more qualified applications than available funds, so reduce your chances of being disqualified because you didn’t follow their requirements.

  1. Follow your passion

Apply for scholarships that fit your passion and interest. TFS has scholarships for everyone. The more personal the scholarship the higher your chances of winning!

  1. Increase your submission rate

The more applications you submit, the greater your chances are of winning scholarships. Treat applying for scholarships as a part-time job. Organize your free time and try to work on submitting one scholarship application every week and more during weekends. Remember if you spend 100 hours on submitting applications and win scholarships for $10,000 that is a really good part-time job!

TFS has been helping students for over 30 years and offers more than 7 million individual scholarships and more than $41 billion in aid. Visit tuitionfundingsources.com to learn more.

Recruit on Campus

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veteran student

Employers on Campus provides job seekers and employers a better way to be introduced and to meet each other’s needs; and, it is also a business opportunity. They are far more effective than attending Career Fairs. Employers on Campus events are held on college and university campuses. It is an opportunity for students seeking internships, employment, and information about careers they are interested in pursuing.

Employers on Campus events are usually sponsored by that school’s Student Veterans Association, which receives a portion of the proceeds of our events. And some employers prefer that we hold an event exclusively for them.

On college campuses students are divided into building or quads particular to their degree they are seeking. So it is easy for us to invite students with majors or degrees in subjects that are appropriate for individual companies. It can be a specialized event, or an event open to all majors.

Companies are invited to attend our open Employers on Campus events. Each representative of those businesses is invited to speak to all the students attending. — Companies might briefly give an introduction to what their business does, examples of their clientele, a summary of open positions and internships, and perhaps a list of college courses you would like candidates to possess to qualify.

After the introductions, students can visit tables and talk to representatives from each company, perhaps to begin the interview process to become an intern or an employee.

Here is a simple video that summarizes why our program is good for a company to implement for their staff. https://youtu.be/6tN9wMbdqZU

Students and company representatives are introduced to our Soar to Success Training, based on the US Army’s “Master Resiliency Course,” which was adopted by the University of Pennsylvania for their new Graduate program in Positive Psychology. Decades of studies demonstrate that this program builds resilience, well-being, and performance; and equips individuals to bounce

back from adversity and to grow and thrive in their professional and personal lives.

A Command Sergeant Major from the US Army, who is a trainer of this program, is working closely with us and developing our program, which we call Soar to Success, for multiple uses. Our Positive Psychology emotional literacy and mind training program can be modified for various demographics: i.e. students, employers, veterans, athletes, medical professionals, pastors, marriages, etc.

This program has also been created as a business opportunity for US Veterans, and for civilians that want to work with our team. Our plan is to spread this into every demographic and region of our country, and even the world. We have an online, and a personal presentation and format.

We are always open to hearing ideas that can augment and better what we are doing.

Here is another fun video about one of our lessons: Learned Helplessness: https://youtu.be/3YAB6mkMznY

How to Avoid Scholarship Scams

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University

It’s no secret that scholarships are a great way to find free money for college. While it’s now easier than ever to search for scholarship opportunities online, easier navigation on the internet also makes it easier for online scammers.

Unfortunately, many families have fallen victim to scholarship scammers who are stealing millions of dollars from families every year. Your goal is to get money for college, and it shouldn’t cost you anything to apply for scholarships.

The good news is that there are red flags to look out for to avoid becoming the victim of a scholarship scam. A general rule of thumb – if it sounds too good to be true, it is. Learn the signs to protect yourself against being defrauded and find scholarships that are right for you. Here are 3 tips to avoid scholarship scams:

  1. Be cautious of fees: Applying for scholarships should not cost money. Be cautions of scholarships with application fees and never pay to get scholarship information. Scholarship databases are free and readily available online. Be on the lookout for phrases like “Guaranteed or your money back.” Scholarship websites can’t guarantee that you will win a scholarship because they’re not deciding on the winner. Legitimate scholarships won’t require an upfront fee when you submit the application.
  1. Protect your data: Never reveal financial information such as your social security number, credit card numbers, checking information or bank account numbers to apply for scholarships. Scholarship scammers could use this information to commit identity theft.
  1. Get a second opinion: If you’re still unsure, talk with trusted organizations about which websites they recommend. School counselors, librarians, financial aid offices, and local community organizations have knowledge and tools to guide you in the right direction.

To help cut through the clutter, TFS Scholarships provides free educational resources to ease the academic journeys of students and families around the country. Sponsored by Wells Fargo, TFS Scholarships has been helping students for over 30 years and offers more than 7 million individual scholarships and more than $41 billion in aid. Visit tuitionfundingsources.com to learn more.

4 Financial Tips for Transitioning Veterans and Spouses

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Financial Tips

By Alecia D. Blair

Whether you have spent four or 24 years following your service member around the country and world, don’t forget that your spouse’s separation or retirement from the military is your military transition, too.

During a military transition, you will tackle challenges pertaining to your family’s financial readiness (spending plan and emergency savings), your career, and your own retirement savings. But don’t sweat it. As a military spouse and planner extraordinaire, you’ve been coming up with plans A, B, C, and D for years. You will take on this challenge just as you have any other in the military—with resilience and grace. You’ve got this, and we are here to help.

Check out four tips to help you pre-plan for your transition away from military life.

1 Revisit the family spending plan.

Does your family already have a spending plan (budget)? If so, that’s great. It’s time to adapt it. If you don’t have a spending plan, having a realistic, conservative one is essential to a smooth military transition.

Check out the Transition toolkit on saveandinvest.org for tips to compare your service member’s military to civilian compensation and benefits. If you need to start from scratch, there’s no need to reinvent the wheel. Check out SaveandInvest’s and USAA Education Foundation’s information on spending plans/worksheets.

When modifying your spending plan for a military transition, you will be losing tax breaks when you transition out of military life, so take this into account. If you need a second set of eyes on your spending plan (and financials in general), visit your installation’s financial readiness/education office and speak to a personal financial counselor for free.

Remember, communication is key. Make sure you and your service member are on the same page about the family financials.

2  Do you still need an emergency fund? Yes! Now more than ever.

Having a healthy emergency fund is always in style, especially if your family is moving beyond the military.

The benefits your service member receives (housing, health care, taxes, etc.) will change a lot in the civilian world, so having at least three to six months of emergency savings will help your family better handle financial surprises instead of taking on debt. As FINRA Investor Education Foundation plainly puts it, “Expect to pay more money out of pocket than you’re used to.”

3  Now’s your time. What do you want to do?

Chances are you’ve followed your service member around from duty station to duty station for a while. As a result of his or her service, your professional and/or education options have been limited. So now may be the time to ask yourself, “What do I want to do?”

Is now the right time to return to school? In many cases, a service member can transfer his or her GI Bill to a spouse or dependents, so look into this option. Proceed with caution before taking on debt to return to school. Plot your course carefully, and look for creative ways to reduce education expenses whenever possible.

Is a career or job change in your future? If so, dust off that résumé and polish it up. Many military installations offer free resume and job preparation services, so visit a location close to you.

4  Are you contributing toward your own retirement? You should be.

If you aren’t already contributing to your own retirement account, now is a great time to do this for many reasons:

  • Employment changes may allow you to save more toward retirement.
  • There are often tax advantages to saving toward retirement.
  • Your retirement savings account will help supplement your service member’s retirement, which means a higher standard of living in your golden years.
  • Plus, seeing your own retirement savings account increase is empowering.

Look for opportunities to invest in your retirement through your employer’s sponsored plan or through an individual retirement account (IRA), among other options. And if you’re already saving for retirement, can you now afford to save more?

Change is constant in the military. A military transition is a major change for you, too. This is a perfect opportunity for you, as a military spouse, to ask yourself what’s next and guide your family into this next chapter and toward a solid financial future.

About the Author
Alecia D. Blair is the Military Saves communications project manager, AFC® candidate, and FINRA Foundation fellow.

Source: militarysaves.org

Reach Out and Get the Help You Need

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By Lester Orellana

I am a retired, wounded combat veteran—I joined the Army at 18 in 2002. I chose to join the military because I immigrated to the United States at the age of 7 and felt it was my duty to give back to a country that has given me so much opportunity.

I first deployed to Iraq with the First Calvary Division from March 2004 to March 2005 to Sadr City in northern Baghdad. My second tour was with the 101st Airborne Division from September 2005 to September 2006 to what is known as the Sunni Triangle of Death in Baghdad.

As a combat engineer, my main mission was route clearance and routine patrols. During both deployments, I was exposed to multiple firefights and more than 20 improvised explosive device (IED) blasts, one of which caused me serious injury, and I lost 9 of my comrades.

My injuries required that I be medically retired from the military. I was only 25 and, which such an abrupt exit, I had no plan in mind when I left the military. I decided to take advantage of the Post-9/11 GI Bill and enrolled in Rutgers-Camden University. However, I was still suffering from not only my physical injuries from the IED blast but also traumatic brain injury (TBI) and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). I had been profoundly changed and was no longer the same person I was before my military experience.

I was attending both school and regular physical therapy Veterans Administrationappointments, but I refused to seek help for my mental anguish. I was married, raising two children, and struggling to deal with life after Iraq. I began to withdraw from everyone, even from my kids, the most important people in the world to me. I started self-medicating, depending on alcohol and my pain medications to cope with daily life. The recurring flashbacks to my experiences in Iraq and memories of the comrades I lost were leading me to a dark place—I felt suicidal.

At that point, I decided I needed help; I was struggling to balance my home life, my education, and my well-being.

I started to take advantage of all the benefits that the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) had to offer, as well as the help provided at Rutgers. The best thing anyone can do before leaving the military is to do research on all the benefits provided to veterans and enroll with the VA healthcare system. Adjusting to school after my military career was difficult, but Rutgers provided assistance to veterans. The best thing to do is to reach out to other veterans, don’t ever forget that you are not alone. Rutgers provided assistance, which was instrumental for me while attending school. I was able to graduate from Rutgers-Camden University with a bachelor in arts and today I work for the VA regional office in Philadelphia as a financial administrative specialist. There is a stigma in the military that having a mental illness is for those who are weak; however, it’s exactly the opposite. What I know now is that it takes a strong individual to realize they are struggling with mental illness and to seek the help.