Student Veterans of America Partners in Got Your 6 Campaign
posted June 12, 2013
Student Veterans of America has partnered with the Pat Tillman Foundation and Operation College Promise to lead the Education Pillar of the Got Your 6. campaign. As pillar leaders, we promise to collect pledges from 500 institutions of higher education that commit to supporting their student veteran population.
The Got Your 6 campaign unites the entertainment industry with top veteran-focused nonprofit organizations to create a new conversation in America—one where veterans are perceived as civic assets and community leaders.
The Got Your 6 Education Pillar Pledge is part of this national movement to support veterans during their transition from military to civilian life. Signing the Education Pillar Pledge reflects an institution’s eagerness to engage in a transparent and proactive campaign, as part of the institution’s long-term strategy, to support student veterans and enrich the campus community. The Pledge does not require the institution to make any financial commitment, but provides the administration with the resources necessary to create an individual plan that fits the needs of their campus and student veteran community.
The Pledge reads:
“On behalf of the below mentioned institution, I pledge to implement or enhance resources, programs, and policies to support our student veteran population.”
Signing the Got Your 6 Education Pillar Pledge is an institution’s public commitment to support the veterans walking through their campus halls today, and those who will come in the future.
Click here for information and details on signing the pledge.
Click here to learn more about the Got Your 6 campaign.
Tuition Assistance Status Update
revised June 11, 2013
originally posted March 28, 2013
In response to the military announcements in early March about the cessation of military Tuition Assistance (TA) funding, the higher education community advocated for the reinstatement of funds to show unwavering support for our servicemembers who have risked much for our country. Concerned citizens from the general public, the military and veteran community, and the higher education sector provided significant feedback to the Military Services and Congress about suspending Tuition Assistance (TA) funding for all new course enrollments.
Responding to that strong feedback and concern for servicemembers, Congress reinstated TA with an amendment to the Continuing Resolution that will keep the government operating through September 30, 2013. However, at this time, the Military Services have not issued policies and guidance about their plans for how and when TA funding will be reinstated and implemented. While DoD and Homeland Security guidance will be forthcoming in the very near future, the current situation leaves military students uncertain about finding other available sources of funding with which to pay for college courses for the upcoming semester ⁄ term.
To monitor official notices about tuition funding by the respective branches of the Armed Services, we direct you to the following Web sites and ⁄ or points-of-contact:
Air Force Military TA
Army Military TA
Updated information will be posted to https://www.goarmyed.com/public/public_display_news.aspx?news_id=1672&type=5
Navy Military TA
Continues to Fund Military Tuition Assistance. For more information, visit https://www.navycollege.navy.mil
Marine Corps Military TA
Current servicemembers have been instructed to communicate with their ESO for additional information.
Coast Guard TA
Current servicemembers have been instructed to communicate with their Coast Guard ESO for additional information.
To help military students locate and explore alternate sources of funding and non-traditional learning options during these uncertain times, SOC has compiled the following information for servicemembers, education counselors, and academic advisers.
Alternate Sources of Funding for Servicemember Course Enrollments
Servicemembers wishing to continue their college enrollment toward their educational goals should contact their local Education Services office or Navy College Office to explore their education funding options and acquire update on voluntary education policy.
A trusted resource for exploring alternate funding and/or credit for non-traditional learning is DANTES (Defense Activities for Non-Traditional Education Support) at http://www.dantes.doded.mil/DANTES_Homepage.html
Veterans Affairs Education Benefits
Servicemembers who meet VA eligibility requirements may continue to pursue their educational goals with applicable VA education benefits that include the Montgomery GI Bill-Active Duty, (Chapter 30), Montgomery GI Bill-Selected Reserve (Chapter 1606), Reserve Education Assistance Program (REAP) (Chapter 1607) and the Post 9/11 GI Bill (Chapter 33). These financial options should be undertaken with caution by servicemembers because servicemembers on active-duty will not receive the full financial value of the accrued benefit. For example, active-duty servicemembers using Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits are not eligible to draw a monthly VA housing allowance because they currently are receiving Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) for military service. However, servicemembers could benefit from the $1,000 yearly book stipend that is part of the education expenses funded under the Post-9/11 GI Bill. Servicemembers should consult with their Education Services Office personnel or the Veteran Certifying Official at the institution where they are enrolled to fully understand and calculate all benefits before making a decision to use GI Bill education benefits during the suspension of TA benefits.
State-Funded Education Assistance for Members of the National Guard
National Guard Airmen and Soldiers also may be eligible for their state education benefits program. They should consult with their state ESO for eligibility criteria, funding availability, guidance, and information.
Federal Financial Aid
Servicemembers may apply for federal grants and federal financial aid by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Financial Aid is awarded to qualified citizens pursuing an undergraduate education (and some post-graduate teacher certification programs). Award amounts vary. For information on Federal Student Financial Aid visit http://www.studentaid.ed.gov/.
The amount of your Pell Grant depends on your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) and your enrollment status (full-time, three-quarter time, half-time, or less than half-time). Eligible students are allowed to receive Pell for 12 semesters or equivalent. Visit https://studentaid.ed.gov/types/grants-scholarships/pell/calculate-eligibility for information on how the Pell Grant is calculated for students enrolled full-, half-, or less than half-time.
Servicemembers should work with their home institutions to determine individual eligibility for Financial Aid and if monies can be awarded for this academic year. Information about federal financial aid can be found at http://studentaid.ed.gov/.
Apply for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) online at http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/. For more information, students may contact the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1-800-433-3243.
Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grants (FSEOG)
The FSEOG Program provides need-based grants to help low-income undergraduate students finance the costs of postsecondary education. When making FSEOG awards, the institution must give priority to those students with “exceptional need” (those with the lowest Expected Family Contributions, or EFCs, at the institution) and those who are also Federal Pell Grant recipients. Students must file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as part of the application process for an FSEOG.
Institutional Financial Aid
In addition to Pell grants and other sources of federal financial aid, colleges/universities may also offer financial assistance to eligible students based on financial need or other selected criteria. Many schools utilize the FAFSA application form as the first step in applying for their financial aid programs. Institutions may offer grants and/or scholarships (that do not have to be repaid), fellowships, or work study opportunities that require some sort of service, work, or educational commitment to fulfill the conditions of the financial assistance, or school loans (that must be repaid). Students should contact the financial aid office at the institution in which they are enrolled to learn of school-specific scholarships, grants, or work-study opportunities.
Cost-Effective Advising Strategies during the Tuition Assistance Hiatus
Simply because the funding for military Tuition Assistance may be reduced or suspended, does not mean that military students cannot continue to make academic progress toward degree completion. Education Centers and Navy College Offices continue to provide educational support to servicemembers including education and vocational counseling, academic testing, credentialing, and transcripts of their military training and experience. As well, there are credit-bearing options outside the classroom that can keep a student on track toward degree completion. For example:
- Nationally-Recognized Testing Programs
Testing options include CLEP, DSST, or Excelsior Exams. DANTES continues to fund CLEP and DSST examinations remain funded despite the suspension of TA funding. The College-Level Examination Program includes 33 general and subject tests that cover a broad range of college requirements. The DSST program offers 38 college subject area examinations that are comparable to the final or end-of-course examinations in undergraduate courses.
Education Centers can provide free study guides and materials to help students prepare to successfully pass these independent study tests. Prior to taking one of the nationally-recognized tests, servicemembers should know the institution’s acceptance policy and passing score requirements and how the test results will apply to his/her degree requirements.
- Challenge Exams
Servicemembers should contact their academic adviser or counselor for information about the institution’s policy on challenge exams. Students who have acquired knowledge/expertise outside the classroom, may be able to coordinate with college administrators to test out of specific courses by taking the final exam before enrolling in the course. Students can prepare and study independently reviewing assigned textbooks and learning resources before taking a challenge exam. Another preparation option may be to enroll in a Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC), a free online course offered by leading institutions within the US. Within the past six months, a proliferation of free online learning options have gained popularity through course management systems such as Coursera, edX, 10gen, and Venture Lab. While MOOCs do not provide academic credit for course completers, class participation and acquisition of knowledge may prepare students well for taking a CLEP, DSST, or challenge exam at their home institution, if college policy allows.
- Professional Military Training
Pursuing military training opportunities such as taking a Professional Military Education (PME) course in Personal Finance, Leadership or other military science subject with ACE credit recommendations can apply directly to a degree requirement. Prior to engaging in a professional development course, servicemembers can review the recommended credit for the course using the American Council on Education’s, ACE Guide Online at http://www.acenet.edu/news-room/Pages/Military-Guide-Online.aspx.
The Defense Language Institute offers a battery of foreign language tests used by the United States Department of Defense (DoD) to determine language proficiency in specific foreign languages along with reading comprehension and listening skills. The Defense Language Proficiency Tests (DLPT) at http://www.dliflc.edu/dlptguides.html have been evaluated and bear recommendations for college credit by ACE so students with current foreign language proficiency may consider completing the tests for documentation of their language skills.
Before engaging in any of the above non-traditional learning options, servicemembers are strongly advised to meet with their education counselor on the military installation and their academic adviser at the home institution to insure acceptance of these academic credits toward degree requirements.
Announcing ACE Brown Bag Webinar Series
posted May 15, 2013
The American Council on Education is hosting a special "brown bag" webinar series to help institutional leaders develop successful strategies for supporting their military and veteran students. This series will feature the following topics:
- Serving Those Who Serve: An Overview of Military and Veterans in Higher Education
Thursday, June 6, 1:30 – 2:30 pm EDT
- Fundraising for Military and Veteran Programs
Thursday, June 13, 1:30 – 2:30 pm EDT
- Pathways and Partnerships
Thursday, June 20, 1:30 – 2:30 pm EDT
- BONUS WEBINAR (for those registering for the full series): Demystifying Military Evaluations
Thursday, June 28, 1:30 – 2:30 pm EDT
Click here for details, webinar descriptions, and cost information.
New Counselor Resource: Accreditation 101 Webinar Available to All
posted April 4, 2013
The Distance Education and Training Council (DETC) in conjunction with the Department of Defense Continuing Education Programs office and Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges conducted a training webinar on Accreditation for military Service Education Office personnel and academic counselors. Dr. Judith Eaton, Executive Director of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), was one of the featured speakers in the webinar.
Click here to access an archived version of the webinar in its entirety.
DANTES Announces TA Alternatives Outreach Strategy
Pensacola, Fla.— In response to the recent suspension of some Service Tuition Assistance (TA) programs, the Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support (DANTES) has produced a new Web page highlighting a number of TA Alternatives to help Service members weather this fiscal storm. While budget cuts and the impact swirl in the news, Service members want help finding alternative funding sources, alternate sources of college credit, who to talk to, and answers to the question “What can I do to keep my education goals on track?” That help is available at the DANTES Web site at http://www.dantes.doded.mil.
DANTES also created a Blog - DANTES Pulse - which will provide instant, up-to-date information and avenues for conversation between Service members / Education Centers / Institutions and the experts at DANTES.
“While the TA issue has challenged our Service members to think out of the box and approach their educational goals with some creativity, the information resources assembled on the DANTES Web site provides them with answers and solutions to help them continue their progress toward their degree,” said Dr. Carol Berry, Director, DANTES.
American Council on Education Launches Online Toolkit for Veteran-Friendly Institutions
The American Council on Education has announced the launch of its Toolkit for Veteran-Friendly Institutions, an online resource designed to help institutions of higher education build effective programs for veteran students and share information. It highlights a variety of best practices, including veterans-specific orientation offerings, on-campus veterans service centers, prospective student outreach efforts, faculty training, and counseling and psychological services for veteran students. It also includes video clips, profiles of student veterans programs across the U.S., and a searchable database of tools and resources.
To register for a free account, visit http://vetfriendlytoolkit.org/ click on “Register for an account” and follow the prompts.