New benefits in the government’s GI Bill of Rights may inspire veterans to chose four-year institutions over community colleges, according to an American Council on Education report.
Historically, beneficiaries of the GI Bill enrolled predominantly in community colleges, attending only part time. Relatively few veterans attended public or private four-year institutions.
“While [veteran students] have previously been concentrated at public two-year colleges, these new benefits may encourage them to seek entry into more expensive colleges, particularly if those institutions demonstrate responsiveness to their needs.” Alexandra Radford, the report’s author, said.
The new bill became law in June 2008 but didn’t go into effect until this August.
The law provides veterans with tuition for four academic years.
The total grant may not exceed the cost of tuition at the most expensive public institution in the state in which the veteran attends college.
Associate Vice President of the American Council on Education Jacqueline King predicts that as more veterans benefit from the new GI Bill, more veterans will attend college full time.
Veterans have not always taken advantage of benefits offered by the GI Bill. Only 47 percent of veterans eligible to receive benefits at four-year public colleges chose to do so in 2007.
The report also noted that it is in the interest of both military personnel and institutions of higher education to advertise the benefits offered by the bill.
“The benefits of the new GI Bill must be well publicized by both colleges and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs,” King said. “This is to the advantage of both military personnel seeking higher education and the institutions in which they hope to enroll.”