As a way of saying thank you to soldiers for their courageous service, the U.S. government provides veterans with education benefits. This financial assistance offers veterans opportunities to transfer the discipline and character developed through military service into civilian careers. Government education benefits help not only veterans, but also their families who have sacrificed due to a loved one’s absence.
To further assist veterans and those currently serving in the military, the veteran-owned G.I. Jobs (www.gijobs.com) publishes an annual Guide to Military Friendly Schools (www.militaryfriendlyschools.com/2011list). The list identifies the top 15 percent of colleges, universities and trade schools that do the most to support America’s veterans as students. Shared attributes among listed schools include academic accreditations and efforts to recruit and retain military and veteran students.
One school appearing on the 2011 list is Brown Mackie College, where K.L. Allen serves as director of Business Development for the Brown Mackie College Education System.
"It’s definitely a prestigious honor to attract military students," he says. "We’re not just here to educate. We help them through life. Our one-class-a-month format definitely fits into military culture. We take pride in that. If someone has been deployed, this simple format eases the transition back to civilian life. Or, a military spouse in school may need to take a month off to handle personal affairs. We make sure they get the time they need without penalties."
Allen speaks to veterans from experience, having opted for military service before college when he graduated from high school in 1997. He enlisted in the Army National Guard and completed Advanced Individual Training before going to school. He served in a military police unit while attending college, and rose to the rank of first lieutenant in a military police unit before his duty ended in 2005. "Military experience gives discipline and foresight. By the time I finished, I was better equipped and prepared to handle the trials and tribulations of college," says Allen.
Even as he served his country, Allen didn’t realize the many benefits available to him because of his service. He takes pride in raising awareness among today’s veterans of the programs in place to help. "They don’t need a bunch of loans to get an education," he says. "I’m pretty sure the military benefits have allowed individuals who never thought they would go to school to go to school. Educational benefits can change a whole family’s legacy. Often, the kids grow up and follow their parents’ footsteps."
The many veteran education programs that Allen and his staff help veterans and their families explore include:
Yellow Ribbon GI Education Enhancement Program
This 2008 provision of the 2001 Yellow Ribbon Program allows institutions of higher learning to enter a voluntary agreement with the Veteran’s Administration to help fund veteran tuition expenses.
Montgomery GI Bill Active Duty (MGIB-AD)
Commonly known as Chapter 30, active duty members who enroll and pay a monthly fee for a year are entitled to receive education benefits after completing a minimum service obligation.
The Montgomery GI Bill – Selected Reserve program
Active members in reserve units of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard, and those of Army and Air National Guard units may qualify for up to 36 months of educational financial aid. Eligibility is determined by Selected Reserve components.
Military Spouse Career Advancement Account (MyCAA)
Limited-time program offers tuition assistance for military spouses who qualify.
"We hold the deepest respect for men and women who serve and continue to serve our country. Some give their lives. They deserve the benefits," Allen says. "We have to find ways to take care of our military now, and how they are impacted in the long run. They sign up for military service because they have a passion to protect our country. Brown Mackie College schools are here to help them make educated decisions in moving their life forward."&&