Things To Ask Before Using Your GI Bills - (that's plural)

  Words By Jerry Field. US Army Veteran.

There are several GI bills available for Veterans: various benefits based on time of service, length of service and other conditions. There are specific programs for Veterans so they can afford to graduate from college with a degree. Most GI education and skill training bills designed to pay tuition often include books and some include living expenses. There is also a transfer program for children and spouses.

When applying to colleges and trade schools, make sure to ask a few pertinent questions. Will the college accept Military training credits if the courses and training overlap with college and technical school courses? Will the school accept ACE credits? The latter is the American Council on Education that evaluates Military and corporate training and recommends college credit for skill training and corporate courses taken if you successfully passed and have a certificate. If the school refuses or will not consider offering college credit for previous Military course work, maybe it’s appropriate to interview at another school. The credit should be for core courses, not electives. Or if electives should be in your field of study it will advance your graduation date. Giving credit for life experience is often an elective credit. This type of elective credit usually cannot be used to fulfill graduation requirements.

Ask what the tuition is and if there is a Veterans program. Illinois require all state college offer in-district rate often one 1/3 less than published rates. I suggest a community college as the first two years of college credit. Most all credits are transferable, if you are advised properly and you can save your funds for a masters. Community colleges also are inclined to accept ACE credits. 

If you are looking at colleges, training schools or certificate programs, be sure the school is approved by the state or a Veterans government organization. And if you are at school and asked to identify yourself as a GI or Veteran and you are immediately sent to financial aid, suggest you find another school. The normal procedures for incoming students is to interview the student, acquaint the student with the programs available for your career needs and suggest a course of study that would best for obtaining ACE credits and getting your certificate or degree in the quickest time frame. If you are sent to financial aid first, it may not be in your best interest to remain at that school. It would appear that the financial backing of you GI bill is more of interested than the courses you want to pursue. 

Your MOS (Military Occupational Specialty) may be the key to job placement. Corporations recognize that Military training is often above average and has an on the job component as part of the classroom work. The Military offers the skill training, education, on the job training and experience all combined in the Military method of education and training as a single component.

An example of job placement is the Quartermaster positions. This title could involve inventory control, payroll disbursements, financial analysis or supply chain management. A Medic can be an emergency room aide, a nurse, a doctor’s assistant or an EMS tech. All Medics pass the National Registry requirement for medical assistant. And motor pool technicians are usually SAE (Society of Automotive Excellence) certified and trained. They can work on today’s automobiles that have far fewer computer chips and sophisticated engines than our tanks, airplane engines and special vehicles. School should be looking at a GI’s training and placing him or her on a career track of their choice rather than the Military of method filling a needed job assignment.

For more information on using your Post 9/11 GI Bill, Check out our Guide HERE

When you see a one of our active duty servicemen or women or a Vet with a service pin, extend a hand shake and offer our unique greeting “Thank you for your service. “ You’ll be glad you did and so will they. 












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