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April 03, 2012 6:19 PM With Friends Like These…

By Daniel Luzer

With the vast amount of military money available for soldiers and veterans, thanks to the newly expanded Post 9/11 GI Bill, many colleges are eager to cash in. Some 600,000 veterans are now about to spend around $9 billion in federal money this year for education.

But what schools should veterans attend? The interested veteran might look around online to figure out which schools are best for veterans. But that might not result in the information he’s really looking for. According to an Associated Press piece by Justin Pope in Diverse Issues in Higher Education:

Some schools touting their spots on proliferating lists of “military friendly” colleges found in magazine guides and websites have few of the attributes educators commonly associate with the claim, such as accepting military credits or having a veteran’s organization on campus. Many are for-profit schools with low graduation rates.
The designations appear on rankings whose rigor varies but whose methods are under fire. Often, they’re also selling ads to the colleges. Some websites help connect military and veteran students with degree programs that may match their interests, but don’t disclose they are lead aggregators paid by the institutions often for-profit colleges whose programs they highlight.

Now, of course, many of these schools might actually enroll many veterans, but that doesn’t necessarily mean such schools are really serving veterans very well. Pope:

“They’re not real rankings,” said Tom Tarantino, a veteran who is deputy policy director of the advocacy group Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. “What they are is advertisement catalogues.” Labeling them “a huge problem,” he called for standards to be established for proper use of the term “military friendly” schools.

Maybe the problem is just the term. For-profit colleges are vocational, career preparation institutions. There’s nothing inherently wrong with their efforts to advertise on sites where veterans go to seek information.

But “friendly?” That’s a pretty ambiguous word to use when the subject is higher education and veterans.

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer

Comments

  • GI Jobs on April 05, 2012 3:45 PM:

    Created for veterans by veterans, G.I. Jobs shares the concerns of others who feel that service members aren�t getting the advice they need to make sound decisions on using benefits, and welcomes cooperation from policy makers and industry consortiums. We maintain that the most efficient way for companies, schools, and franchises to gain transparency and credibility is to take our data driven surveys and be measured by an objective standard. As the legal owner of the trademarked terms Military Friendly Schools�, Military Friendly Employers�, and Military Friendly Franchises�, G.I. Jobs is committed to upholding the standard of the Military Friendly designation and producing world class resources for our nation�s most deserving population. We invite everyone to visit our sites and learn more about our process and methodology:

  • Vista College on May 25, 2012 3:18 AM:

    How Military Experience Can Help in College

    Choosing a career after the military can be challenging for many young adults. While it's good to research a military friendly college before attending, it's important to choose a career path based on what one will enjoy. The following guide provides simple tips and tricks on transforming military experience into a future career.

    There are thousands of unique positions in the military. While lots of work may be repetitive at times, there are lots of opportunities for learning. For example, many military recruits learn about health information, computer science, engineering, biotechnology and more. All this experience can translate into a future degree.

    For example, many people in the United States Air Force enjoy working around planes. While lots of the entry-level work in the military is basic, it can be the stepping stone to a future career in aviation. For example, a degree in aeronautical engineering can be an excellent career path for many people. Many engineers have starting salaries higher than $50,000 a year.

    In addition, the military can provide valuable insight into human psychology. Many recruits will receive basic training in how human emotions can impact performance and ability. In addition, there are many military scholarships that can help people manage the cost of higher education.

    It's also important to understand the role that medicine plays in the military. Most military recruits receive basic training in how to clean and dress wounds, manage an injured soldier and provide basic first aid as necessary. While these duties are basic, they can be a great stepping stone to a future military career. In addition, it's often possible to use previous military experience to pursue a higher position in the military after college.

    For example, the military needs trained engineers, doctors, lawyers and more. It's possible to earn a great income while maintaining a civilian lifestyle in some military positions. In addition, it can be a great way to service one's country.

    While higher education might not be the right choice for everyone, it can be a great way to boost one's future career.