The idea of a student going straight from high school through college is outdated, said Hubbard; adding: “What want to see is a modernization of policies and procedures that allows us to account for and reflect all students’ needs.”
So, when a prospective student like Sgt. Miller goes to the counselor’s office seeking practical advice about how to get more money for tuition; how does a college counselor ensure that he has the most current information?
“That is the wonderful question,” Ruhlman said. “Because of the fact that we in education deliver services under a number of GI programs, we already have contact information with school-certifying officials. We have school employees who are the ones who fill out the forms regarding students’ enrollment, costs, and program dates, in order to deliver benefits.
“I would answer that question by saying say that we are committed to ensuring that schools deliver on the promises they make to their students,” echoed William Hubbard, vice president for veterans & military policy, at the nonprofit advocacy organization, Veterans Education Success.
“The reality is that students often lack the right information to make informed decisions,” he said. “Helping people at every level, helps everyone involved.”
And the best way to reinforce best practices is to make sure as much accurate information as possible gets to students who are deciding how to plan their futures.
“It is clear that both affordability and completion are incredibly important. But what we are looking at, on the front end, is to help these students and families make informed decisions.
Hubbard entered the Marine Corps in 2006, and initially served with 2nd Battalion, 24th Marines. He later went on to lead Marines with 4th Supply Company at Boling Air Force Base in Washington, DC. Today, he continues to serve in the Marine Corps Reserves.
The agency where he now works is designed to identify and eliminate obstacles that prevent military learners from getting their education and finding a successful career path. One of the challenges this agency has taken on is to identify and eliminate, “predatory schools that took advantage of vets.”
“I can tell you we have taken punitive action against schools that have failed to meet the requirements and failed to deliver on the promises they have made,” Hubbard said. Those schools have run the gamut.
“When we think about education now, it is clear that both affordability and completion are incredibly important.”
At the end of the day, the goal is to make sure the school is a match for a military-connected student’s career goals and will deliver a good career outcome.
The first step in becoming eligible for GI Bill benefits, is to apply with a state approving agency, Ruhlman said. In fact, his organization has a national training team that meets with schools to make sure they can provide accurate information to military learners.
“It is very likely that they do understand the various GI benefit programs: what is out there, what is available, and how the students can apply. Most importantly, he added, these school advisors must be able to provide veteran learners with instructions on how to communicate their status to the VA.
Read the full column at HigherEd Military here.