GI Bill in the news...
Above are some articles focusing on veterans in higher ed from this week. Every time I see an article with "veterans" or "GI Bill" in the title along side some mention of higher ed I get excited. But most of the articles don't even mention problems students face (other than a drop-out rate). They don't mention services provided, support structures, development, committment, or that they are high-risk students. They talk about how for-profit institutions some how trap them into an education. They discuss the 90-10 rule and how a senator claims the GI BIll was left out due to a technicality. Along with the frustrations of finding a job, attempting to get my husband back to school, and other daily stress, these articles are just a little too much.
I don't think it was a "technicality" I think the GI Bill was left off the list of federal funding because it would hurt the number of veterans enrolled. It would hurt the institutions helping veterans become educated and integrating back into civilian life. I think it was necessarily to improve enrollment numbers.
I think we're missing a HUGE opportunity by not enrolling veterans into traditional campuses. The veteran population has such a large spectrum of students, that if we learned to support them and allow them to succeed we could help hundreds of other students. Veterans cross borders every day, such as parents, sons and daughters, employees, military members, full-time or part-time students, some are also adjusting to a new way of life. If we can find a way to help them, we can help so many other students, too. They can be enrolled and take classes and essentially have their education paid for 100% (which a lot of schools are looking for, too).
And then there's the article on why a professor can no longer teach a class she has taught for decades. Another reason why higher ed should be working with veterans. Learning about their needs and desires is important, but so is educating the community around them. Teach employers, neighbors, community organizations, and the campus about veterans and military members is vital to keep them in those relationships. They, like most everyone else, want to contribute to society and be good people. That means sitting in class, listening, making connections, and learning in the way they know how. By not having appropriate resources, this instructor now feels she cannot teach something she has a passion for, and everyone loses out.