Supporting the Military Veteran-Student: How Higher Education Can Respond to the Exclusive Needs of Military Students

By McGovern, Thomas M. | Diverse Issues in Higher Education, August 16, 2012 | Go to article overview

Supporting the Military Veteran-Student: How Higher Education Can Respond to the Exclusive Needs of Military Students


McGovern, Thomas M., Diverse Issues in Higher Education


The military student is a unique and disciplined member of the student body with needs that differ from the traditional student. According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, over 400,000 veterans are enrolled in a college or university and have filed for 2012 GI Bill benefits. Colleges that wish to appeal to the military student must fulfill their educational and financial needs, as well as provide additional support, flexibility, and resources.

The Post-9/11 GI Bill explained

As explained by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA), "the Post-9/11 GI Bill provides financial support for education and housing to individuals with at least 90 days of aggregate service after September 10, 2001, or individuals discharged with a service-connected disability after 30 days. You must have received an honorable discharge to be eligible for the Post-9/11 GI Bill." The benefits of the Post-9/11 GI Bill include up to 100 percent tuition and fee coverage, a monthly living (housing) allowance, up to an additional $1,000 per year for books and supplies, a one-time relocation stipend, and the option to transfer benefits to a family member.

Military-friendly colleges will help military students leverage their Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits, as well as provide a variety of supplemental programs. The Yellow Ribbon Program, for example, is a provision of the Post-9/11 GI Bill that allows colleges to assist military students with financial obligations not covered by the GI Bill. Through the Yellow Ribbon Program, colleges pay up to 100 percent of tuition fees not covered by the bill. Additionally, military-friendly colleges often accept College Level Examination Programs (CLEP) and/or DANTES Subject Standardized Test (DSST) exams for credit, as well as credit for military training and experience approved by the American Council on Education (ACE).

Military-friendly colleges can provide extra support by partnering with the Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges (SOC) Degree Network System, an organization that provides educational opportunities for degree completion to active duty students who often relocate. Also, Military Spouse Career Advancement Accounts (MyCAA) provide military spouses with up to $4,000 (over two years) in financial assistance to pursue degree programs or licenses for in-demand, portable careers. Other military student benefits include tuition discounts or instate tuition prices without residency requirements, waived application fees, reenrollment without penalty, and flexible schedules that include evening, weekend, and online course options. …

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