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

Crafting Killer Veteran Resumes For Civilian Employment

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recruiting and sourcing veterans

By Russ Hovendick

I review more than 200 resumes every day, and I notice that those from military folks have common pitfalls. What happens when these types of resumes find their way to a civilian employer’s desk? In most cases, they end up in the trash bin or buried in the inbox.

Your skills and talents are too valuable to end up in “no man’s land,” so give employers a reason to hold onto your resumes.

What follows are some of the common mistakes I see in military resumes.

Acronyms and Military Jargon—Ditch Them
After spending any amount of time in the military, I’m sure it’s natural for military acronyms to become part of your everyday vernacular. But when you use acronyms in your resume and any other communications with civilian employers (e.g., e-mails, phone calls, job interviews), you’re speaking a foreign language. Employers don’t want to have to ask or research what an acronym represents. It’s your responsibility to make sure you’re conveying information clearly. To be frank, it’s more annoying than anything else to see an acronym in a resume. It shows the applicant’s laziness and inability to anticipate that the acronym might be a stumbling block for the employer.

For example, here’s a line taken from the top section of a military resume: “I am a certified DOD mediator to hear EO complaints.” Leave the certification for the bottom of the resume. In the body, the employer is more interested in hearing about the quality of work you’ve done. Here is what he’s probably thinking: Tell me the details of your work as a mediator. Give me a glimpse of the types of disputes you mediated and how you resolved them. And, by the way, I know DOD means Department of Defense, but what the heck is an “EO complaint”?

Too Many Numbers,Too Little Explanation
Numbers are a good thing. If they demonstrate something meaningful about your previous experiences (e.g., you introduced a new policy that reduced processing time by 30 percent), include them. But often in the military, some numbers are so intimidating that they deplete the importance of the accomplishment you’re trying to showcase. For example, if a veteran says he oversaw 200 soldiers, the employer would know he couldn’t have possibly had much personal contact with all 200 of them. But if he mentioned that he trained five sergeants to lead their groups of 40 soldiers each, the statement is more meaningful.

Overemphasis on Technical Skills—Show Your Soft Skills
If you’re applying for a technical position, your resume should play up your technical skills. But you’re not a robot. You drive that fuel your technical aptitude. Make sure that comes across in your resume. No matter what job you’re applying for, employers want to see soft skills, too, such as leadership style, communication skills, motivation to make a difference and more.

Lengthiness, Longwinded Language—Be Concise, Get to the Point
No matter how many years of experience you’ve had, no one should have a resume that’s more than two pages long. If you’re applying for a technical job and want to highlight specific projects, I recommend attaching a separate sheet of case studies or projects. You never want the person reviewing your resume to feel frustrated, overwhelmed or lost. A reviewer who gets bored reading your resume might get the impression you’re dull or bland. A reviewer who gets confused reading your resume might think you’re not a clear communicator or simply not bright. The best way to avoid conveying this impression is to be concise. Get straight to the point. Use action words to bring life to the resume and by using as few words as possible. Every word on your resume occupies valuable space. Don’t waste space on meaningless words. You don’t even need full sentences—use bulleted lists where appropriate.

“So, What?” Statements—Tell Me Why It Matters
Sometimes, I read a statement in a resume and think to myself, “So, what?” Then, I prod the candidate for more information and realize that he or she simply didn’t highlight the significant part of that experience. Former Marine Nolan Ruby gave this great advice: Employers just don’t know how to interpret military accomplishments into their own private companies. It’s up to you to explain it.

Highlighting Decades of Military Service Makes You Look Old
It’s perfectly understandable that you might feel proud of having served, say, 20 years in the military. But don’t create additional hurdles through misconceptions by explicitly stating at the top of your resume that you had a 20-year career in the armed forces. When employers see that a person has held a position for a couple of decades, they automatically assume the candidate must be old when, in fact, the individual could be as young as 38 if he or she joined right out of high school. Let the employers see your skills and experience first, and do the math later. Don’t give them an easy reason to reject you. If you’ve spent many years in the military, I recommend writing “extensive experience,” instead of the number of years served.

Create Multiple Resume Versions
If you are looking for jobs in multiple industries, you’ll need to tailor your resume for each industry. We’ve already pointed out the different languages of the military and civilian worlds. Now, think of the various industries in the same way. Law firm staffers talk very differently from tech startups. People in the medical field use different terminology from people in manufacturing. The more you know about your ideal employers, the better you will be at determining what they are looking for, and therefore, what to include in your resume.

Use a Hybrid Profile-Objective-Company Heading
I often see resumes with the applicant’s objective listed at the top. Here’s a typical example:
“To secure employment as a project manager at an information technology firm.” As an executive recruiter who knows how hiring managers think, I find this type of statement unhelpful. It tells the employer what you want, not what you can offer. On the other hand, I’ve also seen resumes with a profile heading that highlights key skills, qualifications or summarizes the applicant’s experience in a sentence. The profile heading can be helpful, but it runs the risk of repeating items included in the resume. Consequently, I propose a hybrid model that incorporates the applicant’s profile, his or her objective and a complimentary description of the company the applicant is applying for. Here’s an example of the hybrid profile-objective-company heading: “Electrical designer with expertise in automation and relay logic systems searching for an innovative manufacturing company.”

Lacking Education? Highlight Your Professional Development
If you’ve never completed high school or college and you’re wondering what to list in the education section of the resume, no need to worry. I recommend following the advice from Monster resume expert Kim Isaacs: Create a professional development section in which you highlight vocational training, certifications, courses and even seminars or conferences you attended. If you did not complete high school but passed the GED, don’t include the GED on your resume. Employers tend to assume that candidates graduated from high school. You may hear differing opinions from other career counselors, but I firmly believe it’s better not to highlight the fact that you did not earn a high school diploma.

Creating a killer resume takes a lot of thought, time and effort … but the more work you put into creating your resume, the more success you’ll see.

Source: Quintessential Careers

Veterans surprise D.C. elementary school with makeover

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When the children at Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary in Southeast Washington left school on Friday, they had no idea what would happen there before their return on Monday.

But on Saturday, 150 volunteers stormed into the empty building with the efficiency of a military platoon and got to work.

They painted the drab brown linoleum-tiled stairwells red, blue and yellow. Drew clouds on the ceiling tiles of the library. Created murals. Planted flowers in front of the school. Left inspirational messages in the bathroom stalls. Built Ikea furniture to revamp the teacher’s lounge. The list goes on.

And the volunteers completed their mission in a single afternoon.

“They are going to be so surprised and really excited,” said Angel Hunter, the principal of King Elementary, which serves about 380 students in preschool through fifth grade. “It boosts teacher and student morale.”

For the complete article, continue on to Washington Post.

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 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