Support for Veteran Students Returning to College Increasing
Veterans returning to college face a heavy set of challenges as compared to their civilian classmates. Government funded programs help veterans attend college at little or no cost but the implications of post-battle stress creates a difficult transition for many students. To ease the pressure many organizations across the country are creating programs geared toward supporting veteran college students.
Concentration is hard to come by for veteran students adjusting to an extreme change of pace. When listening to students complain about school work or a lack of sleep, veterans may have other problems on their minds. “I’d revert back to thinking about guys getting blown up, getting shot at, “ Michael Dakduk told USA Today about his challenges in the classroom. Dakduk enrolled at the University of Nevada in 2008 upon his return home from duty in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The number of Veterans returning to school is staggering. Nearly 800,000 veterans went to college under the G.I Bill in 2010; a 40% increase from 2009. With obvious obstacles facing veteran students, nonprofit organizations are responding quickly.
The Student Veterans of America is a nationwide non-profit that understands the resources necessary for veteran students. Chapters exist on dozens of campuses and offer programs designed for veteran student success. Job counseling, resources for injured veterans and transition services are all among the services provided. Grants are available to for groups wishing to open SVA chapters on their campuses that lack funding.
A program titled VetSuccess is being tested by Veteran Affairs on a handful of college campuses. The goal is to provide individualized support for each and every veteran on campus. G.I. Jobs, a publication about military to civilian transition, gathers data to create a yearly “military friendly schools” list. A plethora of various American organizations are supplementing the movement towards veteran education.
Prior to transition services comes educational funding. The Post-9/11 G.I. Bill provides free tuition for veterans to attend public in-state colleges and universities. Veterans attending private universities have the option to apply for the Yellow Ribbon program; to help with higher tuition dues. Government contributions coupled with nonprofit efforts are proving to be a success for Veterans adjusting to civilian life.