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Proposal to Improve Veterans’ Transition to Higher Ed

This week, two Democratic senators voiced their concerns over significant problems they found with a program designed to help veterans transition from military life to higher education.

In a letter addressed to the Department of Defense, Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and Sen. Thomas Carper (D-Delaware) point out various flaws with the Transition Assistance Program’s “Accessing Higher Education” track.

The senators’ letter states the DVD used in the class has two significant problems; inaccurate information and insufficient details.

They claim the class is incorrect in its explanations of the Post-9/11 GI Bill, accreditation at institutions and the overall cost of attending college or university.

The other issue revolves around how little information the DVD is provides when it comes to helping veterans make informed decisions on their transition to higher education.

One of the most significant concerns the senators place into the spotlight is the class’s failure to clarify the support mechanisms veterans and servicemembers are entitled to.

“In addition to these specific shortcomings, we believe that there is a more systemic problem with the education class,” the letter states. “It does not help veterans to understand the relationship between their GI Bill benefits and federal student aid.”

The senators also wrote that they recognize many veterans are choosing to forgo the program altogether to take more time to decide what degree to pursue or what institution to attend.

After indicating these problems, the letter outlines four proposed changes to help improve the program:

  1. Improve the accuracy of the information provided
  2. Better explain how GI benefits work in higher education
  3. Find ways to increase the number of veterans opting into the program
  4. Reach out to servicemembers who may have not had a chance to take the program

“[The Accessing Higher Education track] is in need of critical improvements before it can fulfill its mission of helping returning servicemembers understand the options available to them to obtain a college degree,” Harkin said in a press release.