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5 Things Veterans Need To Consider About Online Degrees
Browse through any military publication and you’re sure to get inundated with ads for online degrees from all sorts of schools. For some veterans, going to school online could be the way to go. However, there’s a problem. As noted by the by numerous reports and veterans advocacy groups, many online degrees offered by for-profit schools are leaving veterans with worthless degrees, piles of debt, and few job prospects. Therefore, before you enroll in an online problem, do some research, to protect yourself from predatory schools.
Make sure your degree is worth something and your credits will transfer.
College and university accreditation in the U.S. is confusing as hell.
Some “schools” are on the naughty list, so first and foremost you want to keep yourself out of the mess of having a worthless degree. Most schools you’ve heard of have some kind of accreditation. That basically looks like this: Most of your state universities, private universities, and brand-name, for-profit schools are accredited by one of the regional accrediting organizations. If the school you’re interested in is regionally accredited, it should make life a little easier if you need to transfer, especially within the same region.
In addition to that, there are some national accrediting organizations. These are typically found in schools focusing on religious curriculum, specific careers, or non-standard education methods (like distance, web, and correspondence courses). If your school is only nationally accredited and you need to transfer, then you could run into unforeseen challenges.
For example, if you live in Ohio and are considering transferring to or getting a post-graduate degree from Ohio State University, check with the admissions and transfer folks to see if your credits from a for-profit school will transfer. If you know you want a career that needs a specific type of degree, check with the human resources staff at a national company in that field to see if there are any red flags.
What should you do? Your homework, and the National Center for Education Statistics College Navigator is a good place to start.
If you have any doubt, err on the side of caution. This is your money, your benefits, and your time we’re talking about — so make sure you do it right.
Don’t piss away your benefits.
One of the biggest benefits of the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill is the monthly housing allowance.
Every month, the VA pays out what an E-5 with a family would receive in basic allowance for housing for that area (this is the zip code for the school, not for your house.).
But, if you’re going to school exclusively online, you get a set amount no matter where the school is. This year, the housing allowance for an online-only school is only $754.50 per month.
Say you live in southern California and are weighing your options between San Diego State University and an online school. In a classroom at SDSU, you’d receive $2,052 per month in housing allowance benefits. That’s about $1,250 per month more than the online rate.
Another thing to keep in mind: If you’re planning to go part time or less, so six hours or fewer, then your monthly housing allowance is $0.
One another note: A lot of “military-friendly” schools set their rates at the maximum amount that the services will pay, just like an apartment complex near Camp Lejeune. This may not be a big deal, but if you plan to take more than three-to-six hours a semester, you may get to the point that you’re having to pay for some classes out of pocket.
Balance your schedule.
If you’re considering going to school online, chances are that’s because you are already doing something else. Maybe you’ve got a full-time job, or you’re still on active duty, or you’re fishing king crab.
While going to school online can be beneficial if you’ve got a tight schedule, it doesn’t mean you’ll be doing less work, and online classes sure as hell aren’t any easier.
Whether you’re sitting in a classroom or in front of a computer 12 hours a week, you should expect an additional three hours of coursework per class per week. Do you actually have this much time in your life to devote to school?
If you’re not sure, then pro tip: you probably don’t. So start out slowly. Take one or two classes. Go from there.
Consider a community college.
It’s not sexy. It’s not elite.
But if you’re just starting out, planning on a career that doesn’t require an undergraduate degree, or heading back to school after several years and could use some time to get dialed in, it could be a good fit.
Added bonus, since community colleges focus on non-traditional students, these schools often offer night or weekend classes in addition to online courses. Some even offer special hybrid courses where you spend an hour or two a week in the classroom, and do the rest of your work online.
It also helps to ensure you aren’t placed in that “online only” purgatory of the G.I. Bill housing allowance, which puts some extra cash in your pocket.
But, not all things are created equal. Some states have guaranteed transfer/admissions policies for community colleges and others don’t.
Just like anything else, do your homework and check with the school you may be transferring to upfront so you know the deal.
Check out the state schools.
Did you know you can get a legit, no B.S. degree from many state schools without setting foot on campus? The big state universities are no dummies, and many have realized that they can appeal to a lot of potential students by offering online programs.
For you, all of this is good news. It means you get the same type and quality of degree as if you were in Tuscaloosa or Gainesville without being there, and you’ll know that what you earn is worth what you invested.
The recruiting commercials for the Army Reserve proclaim "one weekend each month," but the real-life Army Reserve might as well say "hold my beer."
That's because the weekend "recruiting hook" — as it's called in a leaked document compiled by Army personnel for the new chief of staff — reveal that it's, well, kinda bullshit.
When they're not activated or deployed, most reservists and guardsmen spend one weekend a month on duty and two weeks a year training, according to the Army recruiting website. But that claim doesn't seem to square with reality.
"The Army Reserve is cashing in on uncompensated sacrifices of its Soldiers on a scale that must be in the tens of millions of dollars, and that is a violation of trust, stewardship, and the Army Values," one Army Reserve lieutenant colonel, who also complained that his battalion commander "demanded" that he be available at all times, told members of an Army Transition Team earlier this year.
According to an internal Army document, soldiers feel that the service's overwhelming focus on readiness is wearing down the force, and leading some unit leaders to fudge the truth on their unit's readiness.
"Soldiers in all three Army Components assess themselves and their unit as less ready to perform their wartime mission, despite an increased focus on readiness," reads the document, which was put together by the Army Transition Team for new Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville and obtained by Task & Purpose. "The drive to attain the highest levels of readiness has led some unit leaders to inaccurately report readiness."
Lt. Gen. Eric J. Wesley, who served as the director of the transition team, said in the document's opening that though the surveys conducted are not scientific, the feedback "is honest and emblematic of the force as a whole taken from seven installations and over 400 respondents."
Those surveyed were asked to weigh in on four questions — one of which being what the Army isn't doing right. One of the themes that emerged from the answers is that "[r]eadiness demands are breaking the force."
The Army thinks China will surpass Russia by 2028. Here is how the service is planning to take them on.
If you've paid even the slightest bit of attention in the last few years, you know that the Pentagon has been zeroing in on the threat that China and Russia pose, and the future battles it anticipates.
The Army has followed suit, pushing to modernize its force to be ready for whatever comes its way. As part of its modernization, the Army adopted the Multi-Domain Operations (MDO) concept, which serves as the Army's main war-fighting doctrine and lays the groundwork for how the force will fight near-peer threats like Russia and China across land, air, sea, cyber, and space.
But in an internal document obtained by Task & Purpose, the Army Transition Team for the new Chief of Staff, Gen. James McConville, argues that China poses a more immediate threat than Russia, so the Army needs make the Asia-Pacific region its priority while deploying "minimal current conventional forces" in Europe to deter Russia.
In leaked documents, Army family reports waiting weeks to have gas line and roof leaks fixed in on-base housing
As the saying goes, you recruit the soldier, but you retain the family.
And according to internal documents obtained by Task & Purpose, the Army still has substantial work to do in addressing families' concerns.
If you're a veteran with a VA service-connected disability rating, a former prisoner of war, or a Purple Heart recipient, the exchange, recreation facilities, and commissary on base will be opening their doors to you starting in 2020.
In what's being billed as the largest expansion of new shoppers in the military commissary system in 65 years, veterans will be allowed back into many of the same retail outlets they had access to while in uniform starting on Jan. 1, 2020, thanks to a measure put in to the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act.