Post-9/11 GI Bill and the need for support services

Despite concerns that veterans attending college on the Post-9/11 GI Bill would struggle, a new review says they have succeeded at schools where support services are available. 

Zach Zimmerman was a Marine Corps infantryman who served in Iraq and Afghanistan; now, he is a senior at Georgetown, studying finance. Zimmerman has some advice for colleges that want veterans to become successful students.

“I think making sure that you have remedial courses in place, small classroom settings, and academic counselors to put a plan together,” he says.

His sentiments are echoed in a new report that says veterans attending college on the Post-9/11 GI Bill are succeeding  when their schools recognize challenges ahead of time and build a support system for vets.

 Under the new GI Bill, which has paid out more than $36 billion dollars in benefits, veterans get enough money for four years of study.

“Having a distinct degree plan is vital,” says Wendy Lang, who heads Operation College Promise. She co-authored the report, and she works with schools on plans to integrate veterans. “They don’t need need to be complicated and they don’t need to be expensive. 

According to Lang, veterans student groups are also important, as veterans will mentor each other “and really help each other out in a manner they wouldn’t ask for help with college administrators.”

About the author

David Gura is a reporter for Marketplace, based in the Washington, D.C. bureau.

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