Mission Critical: Education, and the Army’s Soldier for Life Program

Today’s post was written by Maj. George Coleman, Education Director, U.S. Army Soldier for Life

Seventy-one years ago, in the midst of World War II, Congress passed the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944—better known as the GI Bill. In the peak year of 1947, veterans accounted for 49 percent of college admissions. By July 25, 1956, when the original GI Bill expired, 7.8 million of 16 million World War II veterans participated in an education or training program.

"I never would have completed this degree without the G.I. Bill,” said Master Sgt. Dennis King, 135th Expeditionary Sustainment Command's chaplain assistant from Birmingham, Ala.,who  received his Doctor of Education while deployed in Kuwait. (Photo Credit: Staff Sgt. James Burroughs, U.S. Army/Released)

“I never would have completed this degree without the G.I. Bill,” said Master Sgt. Dennis King, 135th Expeditionary Sustainment Command’s chaplain assistant from Birmingham, Ala.,who received his Doctor of Education while deployed in Kuwait. (Photo Credit: Staff Sgt. James Burroughs, U.S. Army/Released)

 

Today, the post-9/11 GI Bill has positively impacted millions of veterans and their families. Thousands of colleges and universities are supplementing Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits to facilitate admission.

On July 9, 2015, Soldier for Life participated in a webinar hosted by the American Council on Education or ACE, “Mission Critical: Education and the Army’s Soldier for Life Program.” In the webinar, Soldier for Life gave a snapshot overview of who today’s veterans are and answered audience questions. Click here to access the full audio recording of the webinar.

Who are today’s student veterans?

  • Majority are male
  • 27 percent female (compared to percent of female service members)
  • 15 percent are normal college age (18-23 years old)
  • Many are supporting a family while also attending school

What do student veterans bring to the college environment?

  • A diversity of viewpoints from working in different countries and cultures
  • Leadership and management experience
  • An ethic of teamwork and how to be responsible members of a community
  • A willingness to strive for excellence and push themselves towards their goals

FAQ

I know I can get credit for my military experience, but how do I know what qualifies?

The Joint Service Transcript or JST is an academically accepted document approved by the American Council on Education or ACE to validate a service member’s military occupational experience and training along with the corresponding ACE college credit recommendations. The JST provides a description of military schooling and work history in civilian language. Current and former members of the active, Guard and Reserve forces may register at https://jst.doded.mil/smart/signIn.do.

What is a Career Skills Program?

A Career Skills Program, or CSP, assists transitioning Soldiers gain a skill to make them “career ready” when they separate active service. Soldiers participate in a CSPs during their last 180 days of active service at their place of duty. CSPs can include job training, employment skills training, apprenticeship, or internships. There are currently pilot programs established on 13 installations. CSPs lead to direct employment opportunities. Ask your installation education services officers if there is a CSP program at your installation.

Which schools offer in-state tuition for veterans?

Student Veterans of America offers information on the status of state legislation regarding tuition rates for veterans.

For more information on education opportunities and website, visit the Soldier for Life website: www.SoldierForLife.army.mil/education

Soldier for Life Education Director Lt. Col. Ryan Raymond speaks with a veteran participating in a course with the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers through Helmets to Hardhats, a veteran service organization that places service members in careers in construction. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army Soldier for Life/Released)

Soldier for Life Education Director Lt. Col. Ryan Raymond speaks with a veteran participating in a course with the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers through Helmets to Hardhats, a veteran service organization that places service members in careers in construction. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army Soldier for Life/Released)