By Rick Jones | vice president of sales at RecruitMilitary and a former master gunnery sergeant in the United States Marine Corps |
Published in the May/June 2013 issue of print Search & Employ® |
RecruitMilitary encourages job seekers to use this guide to evaluate their continuing-education options and to learn about financing that may be available to them.
The United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has set up a GI Bill Web Site, www.gibill.va.gov, that is the home for all educational benefits provided by the department. Below are brief descriptions of four major benefits programs.
Post 9-11 GI Bill
This program provides financial support for education and housing to individuals with at least 90 days of aggregate service after September 10, 2001, or individuals discharged with a service-connected disability after 30 days. An individual must have received an honorable discharge to be eligible. Approved training includes graduate and undergraduate degree training, vocational/technical training, on-the-job training, flight training, correspondence training, licensing and national testing programs, and entrepreneurship training. All training programs must be approved for GI Bill benefits. The program provides up to 36 months of education benefits – generally, benefits are payable for 15 years following release from active duty. The bill also offers some servicemembers the opportunity to transfer their GI Bill to dependents. Post-9/11 benefits are sometime referred to as Chapter 33 benefits because the bill is defined in Chapter 33 of Title 38 of the United States Code.
Montgomery GI Bill Active Duty (MGIB-AD)
MGIB-AD provides up to 36 months of education benefits. This benefit may be used for degree and certificate programs, flight training, apprenticeship/on-the-job training, and correspondence courses. Remedial, deficiency, and refresher courses may be approved under certain circumstances. Generally, benefits are payable for 10 years following release from active duty. Some servicemembers may contribute up to an additional $600 to the GI Bill to receive increased monthly benefits. For an additional $600 contribution, a servicemember may receive up to $5,400 in additional benefits. The additional contribution must be made while on active duty. MGIB-AD is also commonly known as Chapter 30.
Montgomery GI Bill Selected Reserve (MGIB-SR)
MGIB-SR is available to certain members of the Selected Reserve, which consists of the Army Reserve, Navy Reserve, Air Force Reserve, Marine Corps Reserve, Coast Guard Reserve, Army National Guard, and Air National Guard. Personnel may use MGIB-SR for degree programs, certificate or correspondence courses, cooperative training, independent study programs, apprenticeship/on-the-job training, and vocational flight training programs; and may be entitled to up to 36 months of education benefits. Remedial, refresher and deficiency training are available under certain circumstances. Eligibility normally ends on the day an individual leaves the Selected Reserve. MGIB-SR is also known as Chapter 1606 because it is defined in that chapter of Title 10 of the United States Code.
Survivors and Dependents Assistance (DEA)
This program provides education and training opportunities to a son, daughter, or spouse of a veteran who died or is permanently and totally disabled as the result of a service-connected disability (the disability must arise out of active service in the armed forces), a veteran who died from any cause while the permanent and total service-related disability was still in existence, a servicemember missing in action or captured in line of duty by a hostile force, and certain other servicemembers. The program offers up to 45 months of education benefits. Dependents may use these benefits for degree and certificate programs, apprenticeship, and on-the-job training. A spouse may take a correspondence course. Remedial, deficiency, and refresher courses may be approved under certain circumstances. DEA is also known as Chapter 35.
CHOOSING A COLLEGE MAJOR
ACT, Inc., which produces and conducts the ACT® Test, a college entrance examination, has an interactive concept map, called the Map of College Majors, at http://www.act.org/majorsmap. The map shows the relative conceptual locations – not geographical locations of schools – of 80 popular majors in 10 groups:
(1) arts, (2) business, (3) communications, (4) community services, (5) computer and information sciences, (6) education, (7) engineering and technology, (8) medicine and allied health, (9) science and math, and (10) social studies.
ACT bases the map on the interests of thousands of college students. The map helps a prospective student see similarities and differences between majors, based on student preferences for activities involving data, ideas, people and things. Some examples:
* Data: Recording, verifying, transmitting, and organizing facts.
* Ideas: Creating, discovering, analyzing, and interpreting.
* People: Helping, informing, persuading, entertaining, motivating, and directing.
* Things: Repairing, transporting, servicing, and producing.
To use the map, the prospective student selects a group to see all of the majors in that group. Then, he or she selects a major to see information about that major, including topics of study, degrees available, related occupations, and related majors. And the 80 majors on the map are linked to information on more than 200 additional majors. Similar majors are close to one another on the map. So, as the ACT site says, “if you find majors that look good to you, then nearby majors may be worth a look as well.”
The World-of-Work Map (www.act.org/world/world.html) shows how occupations relate to one another, based on work tasks. The map has the form of a pie chart, with occupational categories printed on the various “Slices.” Clicking on a category takes the user to a linked list of occupations. Clicking on a link opens a window describing work tasks; listing average salary, number of workers, and expected growth; describing entry requirements; and listing related occupations and related majors.
CHOOSING A COLLEGE AND A MAJOR
The College Board,which produces and conducts the SAT Test, a college entrance examination, has a set of interactive tools called BigFutureTM, which can help a prospective student navigate the college planning process. Veterans will find the College Search program (https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/college-search) especially valuable. The program offers the user 3,979 college options. The user chooses options in 10 categories: (1) type of school, (2) location, (3) campus and housing, (4) majors and learning environment, (5) sports and activities, (6) applying, (7) academic credit, (8) paying, (9) support services, and (10) diversity. The program then displays a list of colleges.
The For Veterans page (https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/get-started/for-veterans) contains the following links:
* Scholarships for Veterans
* For Veterans: How to Find a College That’s Right for You
* CLEP (College-Level Examination Program®) Credit for Members of the Military
* Colleges with Services for Veterans
* For Veterans: Paying for College
* Veterans and College Admission: FAQ’s
The Major and Career Profiles page (https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/majors-careers) presents:
* 8 categories of majors: (1) arts and humanities, (2) business, (3) health and medicine, (4) multi-/interdisciplinary studies, (5) public and social services, (6) science, math, and technology, (7) social sciences, and (8) trades and personal services.
* 7 categories of careers: (1) arts, entertainment, and sports, (2) business, (3) health and medicine, (4) media and social sciences, (5) public and social services, (6) science, math, and technology, and (7) trades and personal services.
Clicking on a category produces a list of subcategories, and the user can click on a subcategory to navigate to links to profiles. For example, in the science, math, and technology category of “major” are 11 sub-categories: (1) agriculture and related sciences, (2) architecture and planning, (3) biological and biomedical sciences, (4) communications technologies, (5) computer and information sciences, (6) engineering, (7) engineering technologies, (8) math and statistics, (9) natural resources and conservation, (10) physical sciences, and (11) science technologies. Clicking on the engineering subcategory leads to profiles of over 40 kinds of engineering, including this one for industrial engineering: https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/majors/engineering-industrial-engineering.
The Student Veterans Association (SVA; www.studentveterans.org) helps bring student veterans together and provides them with resources, support, and advocacy to help them succeed in higher education and after graduation. SVA has more than 500 chapters. A chapter map and directory is at http://www.studentveterans.org/index.php/home/chapters.html.