Nation's colleges may soon see a wave of veterans

Monday - 8/31/2009, 11:17am EDT

Jim Selbe

New GI Bill expected to entice people leaving military service to get civilian college degrees.

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By Andrew Mitchell
Internet Editor
Federal News Radio

The nation's colleges may soon see an influx of veterans, thanks to the new GI Bill, which went into effect Aug. 1.

In an interview aired on Monday's Federal Drive, Jim Selbe, the Assistant Vice-President for Lifelong Learning at the American Council on Education, told Federal News Radio's Tom Temin and Jane Norris that there has been a spike in applications for education benefits under the terms of the Post-9/11 GI Bill.

That legislation expands benefits for college degrees.

Selbe said he expects veterans to begin showing up on campuses around the country in the spring semester.

Studies have shown that the unemployment and homelessness rates among veterans are currently higher than in the general population.

Selbe noted the new GI Bill may also entice more people to join the military services in order to help pay for college in the future.

Furthermore, Selbe said that he anticipates that former members of the military will be particularly attracted to jobs in the federal service, especially those relating to homeland security and intelligence. And, in his opinion, federal employers will be lucky to have them.

According to Selbe, most veterans leave military service with life skills that other college graduates may not possess:

I often say to employers, here's somebody who's drug-free, who's going to show up for work on time, and they're going to have an incredible work ethic, and they're going to persist, as demonstrated through their military experience.

"Going to college will then give them the other skills that they need to be attractive to our federal employers," added Selbe.

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On the Web:

Air Force Web site - New GI Bill to heighten professional work force

American Council on Education - Military Service Members and Veterans in Higher Education

Center for Policy Analysis - From Soldier to Student: Easing the Transition of Service Members on Campus

Department of Veterans Affairs - GI Bill Home Page

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