U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Joshua Young

Getting out of the military can be a challenging time, especially for those who only served one enlistment and are heading to college. In my case, I dropped out of school in 2008 and enlisted, then in 2012 left the Marines and returned to college, except this time I had a new identifier permanently affixed to myself. I was now a veteran, but I had no idea how that one little detail was going to impact and alter how I behaved. I felt like I was equipped with a wealth of experience far beyond my peers. I’d gone to war, done some stuff, and now I was going to show these civilians just how easy they had it. Post-military life would be a cinch and I’d be making mad bank in no time.

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As veterans, anytime we scroll through Facebook, play around on Twitter, or even change the channel on the TV, we’re inundated with ads designed specifically for us. Whether it’s a college that wants to get a slice of that G.I. Bill money cake, or some boot company trying to get veterans to buy another pair of uncomfortable footwear, current and former service members are prime targets.

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Flickr Creative Commons photo by Alicia

On Jan. 15, the University of Phoenix was notified by the Department of Defense that it would be removed from the probationary status on which it was placed in October and would once again be eligible to accept funds from military students using tuition assistance benefits.

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Navy photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Sam Spain

Roughly 928,000 spouses and dependents have used the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill funding to attend schools in the first five years the benefit was offered, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs. Though some lawmakers suggest that regulations be tightened to lower the number of transfers, benefits remain transferrable at the time of this writing.

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Photo by Pfc. Justin A. Rodriguez

Though for-profit institutions have been preying on soldiers since World War II, the enactment of the 1998 90-10 rule has given rise to more deceitful tactics that hone in on veterans’ G.I. Bill money.

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Photo by Spc. Nathan Thome

College is the next step for many people leaving the military. As a transition pathway, this makes a lot of sense. Yet somehow a lot of us get lost in the process: going to the wrong school, pursuing the wrong degree, and even failing to graduate. Many veterans fumble during their transition because they view college through a narrow lens, emphasizing a simplistic view of a degree as a "check in the box." These folks miss out of other opportunities that could substantially improve their lives after service.

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