Fort Leavenworth Military spouse continues education at 49

Kate Hanlen posing outdoors in flowery dress smiling

Great Bend Tribune

When Kate Hanlen went on a mission trip to Honduras at the age of 19, she didn’t know she would discover her career calling that would be 30 years in the making.

“We were there to help build buildings and paint mostly,” she said. “One day there was this six-year-old girl that was on the other side of a fence, and she spoke Spanish and I did not, but she showed me her leg and it had a big wound on it. I ran and grabbed a medical kit we had, and I didn’t know very much but I helped her as much as I could and I thought ‘Lord, if this is what you’re calling me to, I embrace it.’ Since that day, I’ve always prayed that my hands will be used to help as many people as possible.”

That pivotal moment caused Hanlen to enroll in nursing school, but after two years she wasn’t sure exactly in what specific arena she wanted continue helping people so, she enlisted in the Army reserves and served as a combat medic for eight years. During that time, she met her husband who was active duty and they married in 1995. Over the next 26 years, they had six children and traveled the world as a military family with her often handling all the parental duties when her husband was on deployments.

“We’ve traveled all over the world,” she said. “However, the needs of our family were always my treasure. I wanted to be with my kids, make our house a home since we did move so much.”

With her husband retired and four of her kids out of the house and the youngest two not far behind, Hanlen realized her amazing journey as a mother was going to transition into a stage that would allow her time to focus on herself.

Her son had utilized Barton’s LSEC courses in high school at Fort Leavenworth so he could graduate college more quickly. These classes are offered on scholarship to soldiers and their families that are stationed at Fort Leavenworth and Fort Riley.

“My son and I came down to the Army Education Center and we couldn’t believe we were able to take these classes at no charge, she said. “I kept asking them ‘Are you sure a bill for thousands of dollars isn’t going to show up in a few months?’”

Of course, no bill ever showed up, and now Hanlen is utilizing Barton’s LSEC classes at Fort Leavenworth to fill in some gaps on her transcript that she needs to finish her pre-requisites before transferring to St. Mary’s University to finish her nursing school. At that time, she hopes to find a job in hospice care.

Read the complete article here.

Military veteran graduates from college alongside his daughter


NORFOLK, Va. – A father and daughter from Portsmouth, Virginia, are now bonded by their college graduations from the same school and on the same day.

Marvin Fletcher, a retired U.S. Marine and Army veteran, told Fox News Digital that he was shocked when he found out that both he and his daughter SaNayah Hill, 17, would be graduating from Tidewater Community College at the same time.

In a phone interview, Fletcher said he felt overwhelming pride when he learned that his daughter had completed her career studies certificate in emergency medical service as a dual-enrollment student — before even finishing her junior year at Deep Creek High School.

“I’m just grateful for the opportunity that TCC afforded myself, as well as other veterans, and my daughter,” Fletcher said.

He earned his associate’s degree in applied science in management after serving for four years in the Marine Corps and eight years in the Army.

Fletcher added, “I’m humbled and honored to have served. And I like the fact that my daughter wants to serve in the medical field in her own way.”

The father-daughter pair completed their graduation march on Monday, May 9, at the Chartway Arena in Norfolk, Virginia.

Click here to read the full article on FOX.

Nebraska teen accepted to all five military academies; sets out to serve America

Noble Rassmussen holding military hats

By Angelica Stabile, FOX News

High school senior Noble Rasmussen intends to serve his country well — and all five U.S. military academies seem to agree.

The Nebraska teen joined “Fox & Friends” on Friday to celebrate his acceptance to all five academies.

He then announced on the program that he’ll be attending the United States Air Force Academy in June.

Rasmussen, a cadet with the Civil Air Patrol, said that his interest in applying to each school was sparked from a desire to represent and serve the United States as a whole.

“I want to serve my country the best I can,” he said. “So applying to all academies [presented] the option to serve anywhere.”

“I feel like it’s my duty to serve my country.”

VIDEO: Watch the interview on FOX & Friends

While the “noble” sentiment of military service complements Rasmussen’s first name nicely, his mother, Cheri Rasmussen, said that was his parents’ exact intention when they named him.

“Our prayer for him his whole life was just to have that noble character of honor, honesty and integrity,” she said. “Just to kind of rise above and have that high moral principle.”

“God has blessed us with that, and we see those qualities of leadership and maturity in Noble.”

Continue to Fox News to read the complete article.

NASM Supports Military Families with Career Opportunities

Young military couple kissing each other, homecoming

By Chris Billingsley

NASM (National Academy of Sports Medicine), a global leader in fitness education and certifications, supports military families – not only on days like the annual – Military Spouse Appreciation Day – but every day by providing 30% off all courses for military members and their families, as well as a free course on mental toughness.

Since 2017, NASM has been recognized as a Military Friendly School, and its Certified Personal Training (CPT) program is also eligible for military funding reimbursement.

Not only do NASM courses offer invaluable health knowledge, for military members and their spouses, NASM also offers flexible career opportunities perfect for a military family’s lifestyle, which can often include multiple moves and makes working in a traditional environment difficult.

Working as a NASM certified personal trainer, wellness coach, or nutrition coach offers the freedom to work wherever and whenever works best for your family, while offering the purpose and satisfaction that comes from helping others achieve their goals.

In fact, for those that want to coach virtually, now is the best time to get started. NASM is seeing a 23% uptick in graduates who are offering virtual services since 2017, with the online fitness industry projected to grow from $16.15 billion this year to $79.87 billion in 2026.

Military spouses looking for career opportunities can also apply MyCAA scholarship funding to specific programs, including a Group Fitness Instructor certification through AFAA (Athletics and Fitness Association of America).

Learners have many options for their course of study – whether they’re interested in offering clients nutritional support, fitness knowledge, or comprehensive wellness coaching. NASM even offers bundles of courses as well as specializations, such as virtual coaching, to help students create the best program for their career goals.

For more information on how NASM supports military members and their families, visit

Rhodes Scholar Excels on All Fronts

black female in U.S. Navy Uniform also pictured palying soccer and standing in front of fighter jet

Established in 1902, after the passing of Cecil John Rhodes, the Rhodes Scholarship has sought out some of the world’s most outstanding young leaders to pursue a complete expense paid education at the University of Oxford. Over a hundred years later, the scholarships are the oldest and one of the most prestigious academic honors in the world.

Rhodes Scholars are chosen based on high academic achievement, integrity of character, a spirit of unselfishness, respect for others, potential for leadership and physical vigor. The value of the Rhodes Scholarship varies depending on the academic field, the degree pursued, and the college chosen.

This year, out of the 820 applicants chosen to apply for the Rhodes Scholarship, only 32 were awarded, including to Midshipman 1st Class Senior, Sarah Skinner, of the U.S. Naval Academy. She will be the Naval Academy’s 54th Rhodes Scholar.

Skinner is an honors political science major, with a Chinese minor, at the U.S. Naval Academy. Her honors research is aimed at evaluating the overall effectiveness of middle power nations and middle power institutions in mitigating hegemonic competition and conflict between the U.S. and China. This past summer, she studied Taiwanese virtually through National Taiwan University.

Additionally, Skinner has held numerous leadership positions at the Naval Academy, including her current position as the 21st Company commander, where she oversees 150 midshipmen. She has previously served as both the 21st Company drill sergeant and honor sergeant. Skinner is also the Navy Women’s Rugby team captain, was selected to play for the USA’s Rugby Olympic Development Program, and a member of the Golden Key National Honor Society.

Skinner is a 2018 graduate of Marist School in Brookhaven, Georgia, and she plans to pursue a Master of Philosophy in international relations at Oxford University. Her education and transportation to and from England will be covered entirely through her scholarship. After completing the Rhodes Scholarship program, Skinner will continue her naval service in the surface warfare community.

Source: The U.S. Naval Academy, The Rhodes Trust

Your Top GI Bill Questions Answered

man At Desk In Modern Work Space With Laptop

Whether you’re already utilizing your GI Bill benefits or looking to begin using it as part of an educational New Years’ resolution, you may have questions about how to get the most out of your benefits. Here are some of your most popular GI Bill questions, answered.

I need to apply. How do I do that, and what do I need?

Applying for the GI Bill can be done in a variety of ways. One of the easiest ways to do so is online at, but if you prefer, you could do it by mail or in person at your local VA office. Accredited representatives are also available to help you apply for your benefits should you need them. You will need to bring your social security number, bank account direct deposit information, and an understanding of your education and military history to complete the application.

I am enrolled in school. When will I receive my benefits from VA?

You will generally receive payment within two weeks of verifying your enrollment at the end of the month (or within one week if using direct deposit), but many things affect when you receive your payments. Your school must submit your enrollment to VA for processing to begin. If it’s the first time you are using benefits, it will take longer to process your payment than if you are re-enrolling. In general, it takes about a month to process an original claim and about a week for a re-enrollment. If VA needs to verify your service, things such as remarks from your certifying official on your enrollment can make processing longer. Processing times are longer in the fall than during other terms due to the volume of claims VA receives.

If you are receiving benefits under Montgomery GI Bill — Active Duty (MGIB-AD/Chapter 30) or Montgomery GI Bill — Selected Reserve (MGIB-SR/Chapter 1606), you must also verify your enrollment at the end of each month to receive payment for that month. Benefits are paid after each month of school is completed.

How does the Post 9/11 GI Bill affect active duty veterans?

Veterans who have served at least 90 days of active duty service after September 10, 2001, and received an honorable discharge will qualify for the Post-9/11 GI Bill. To be eligible for the full benefit, a veteran must have served at least three years of active duty after September 10, 2001. Those who qualify for the MGIB-AD or the MGIB-SR will have the option to choose which benefit best suits their need.

The correlation between time served and the percentage of the maximum benefit payable is as follows:

    36 months or received a Purple Heart: 100%
    30 continuous days on active duty and discharged due to service-connected disability: 100%
    At least 30 months, but less than 36 months: 90%
    At least 24 months, but less than 30 months: 80%
    At least 18 months, but less than 24 months: 70%
    At least six months, but less than 18 months: 60%
    At least 90 days, but less than six months: 50%

What type of active duty counts for a Reserve or Guard member regarding the Post-9/11 GI Bill?

The following active duty qualifies for Post-9/11 GI Bill eligibility:

  • All Title 10 active duty supporting named contingency operations.
  • Title 32 service for the purpose of organizing, administering, recruiting, instructing or training the National Guard.
  • Title 32 service under section 502(f) for the purpose of responding to a national emergency.
  • All voluntary active duty, with the exception of active duty for medical care and medical evaluation.
  • Title 10 service under 502(f): Title 10 service under 12301(h) for the purpose of receiving service-related medical care.
  • A reservist who receives a Purple Heart for service occurring on or after September 11, 2001.
  • Service under 12304, 12304a, and 12304b orders, mobilization to provide assistance in response to a major disaster or emergency or for preplanned missions in support of combatant commands.
  • Individuals ordered to active duty under section 12301(h) of title 10, USC to receive authorized medical care, to be medically evaluated for disability or other purposes, or to complete a required Department of Defense healthcare study.

All forms of inactive duty training (drills and funeral honors), as well as annual training, do not qualify for the Post-9/11 GI Bill education benefit.

How do I verify my enrollment?

If you’re receiving the Montgomery GI Bill — Active Duty or Selected Reserve, use the Web Automated Verification of Enrollment (WAVE) or call our toll-free Interactive Voice Response (IVR) telephone line at 1-877-VA-ECERT (1-877-823-2378) to verify your attendance.

If you’re receiving Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits, you don’t need to verify your attendance.

Are VA Education Benefits taxable?

No. Any veterans’ benefits paid under any law administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) should not be reported as income to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). You will not receive a W-2 from the VA. Per IRS Publication 970:

“Payments you receive for education, training, or subsistence under any law administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) are tax-free. Do not include these payments as income on your federal tax return.

If you qualify for one or more of the education benefits discussed in chapters 2 through 13*, you may have to reduce the amount of education expenses qualifying for a specific benefit by part or all of your VA payments. This applies only to the part of your VA payments that is required to be used for education expenses.”

What if I receive a failing grade in one of my classes?

If you fail a class, you receive a “punitive grade” for that class. A punitive grade is a grade that doesn’t count as earned credit but is used in determining a student’s progress toward graduation requirements. This means that the grade you receive counts in your overall degree progress, albeit negatively. Since this grade counts towards your graduation progress, you are not required to repay any GI Bill money you received for that class.

You may retake the class in an attempt to receive credit towards graduation or raise your grade for the course, and you may receive GI Bill payment for retaking the class.

To learn more about your benefits or to answer any other questions you may have, visit for more information.

Source: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

Edith Nourse Rogers STEM Scholarship for Veterans

Female cadet with backpack and laptop against American flag. Military education

The Edith Nourse Rogers Science Technology Engineering Math (STEM) Scholarship allows some eligible Veterans and dependents in high-demand fields to extend their Post-9/11 GI Bill or Fry Scholarship benefits. Read below to find out if you’re eligible for up to 9 months (or $30,000) of added benefits and how to apply.

Am I eligible for the Rogers STEM Scholarship (GI Bill extension)?

You may be eligible for this scholarship as a Veteran or a Fry Scholar if you meet at least one of these requirements.

At least one of these must be true:

  • You’re currently enrolled in an undergraduate STEM degree program or qualifying dual-degree program, or
  • You’ve earned a post-secondary degree or a graduate degree in an approved STEM degree field and are enrolled in a covered clinical training program for health care professionals, or
  • You’ve earned a post-secondary degree in an approved STEM degree field and are working toward a teaching certification
  • Full eligibility requirements

    To be eligible, you need to meet all of the requirements listed here for your situation.

    If you’re currently enrolled in an undergraduate STEM degree or qualifying dual-degree program,

    All of these must be true:

    • You’re enrolled in a qualifying undergraduate STEM degree program that requires at least 120 standard semester credit hours (or 180 quarter credit hours) to complete, and
    • You’ve completed at least 60 standard credit hours (or 90 quarter credit hours) toward your degree, and
      You have 6 months or less of your Post-9/11 GI Bill (or Fry Scholarship) benefits left.

    To find out how much of your benefits you have left, check your Post-9/11 GI Bill Statement of Benefits.

    Note: You can’t use the STEM scholarship for graduate degree programs at this time.

    If you’re enrolled in a covered clinical training program for health care professionals

    All of these must be true:

    • You’ve earned a qualifying degree in a STEM field, and
    • You’ve been accepted or are enrolled in a covered clinical training program for health care professionals, and
    • You have 6 months or less of your Post-9/11 GI Bill (or Fry Scholarship) benefits left. To find out how much of your benefits you have left, check your Post-9/11 GI Bill Statement of Benefits.

    If you’re working toward a teaching certification

    All of these must be true:

    • You’ve earned a qualifying post-secondary degree in a STEM field, and
    • You’ve been accepted or are enrolled in a teaching certification program, and
    • You have 6 months or less of your Post-9/11 GI Bill (or Fry Scholarship) benefits left. To find out how much of your benefits you have left, check your Post-9/11 GI Bill Statement of Benefits

    How we prioritize scholarships

    If you meet these eligibility requirements, we can’t guarantee that you’ll receive the Rogers STEM scholarship.

    We give priority to Veterans and Fry Scholars who:

    • Are eligible for the maximum Post-9/11 GI Bill benefit (100% level), and
    • Require the most credit hours compared to other applicants
    • Which degree programs can I use this scholarship for?

    You can use this scholarship for undergraduate degree programs in these subject areas:

    • Agriculture science or natural resources science
    • Biological or biomedical science
    • Computer and information science and support services
    • Engineering, engineering technologies, or an engineering-related field
    • Health care or a health-care-related field
    • Mathematics or statistics
    • Medical residency (undergraduate only)
    • Physical science
    • Science technologies or technicians

    Download the full list of eligible STEM degree programs (PDF)

    Note: We updated this full list of eligible programs in March 2021.

    How do I apply for the Edith Nourse Rogers STEM Scholarship?

    You can apply online right now. The online application should take you about 15 minutes to complete.

    What happens after I apply for this scholarship?

    We usually make a decision about each scholarship within 30 days. We award scholarships on a monthly basis. If we need more information from you to make a decision, we’ll send you a letter.

    If we approve your application, you’ll get a Certificate of Eligibility (COE) in the mail. This is also called a decision letter. Bring this COE to the VA certifying official at your school. This person is usually in the registrar’s, financial aid, or Veteran’s office at the school.

    If we don’t approve your application, you’ll get a denial letter in the mail.

    What’s STEMText?

    We use STEMText to communicate with you about your Rogers STEM Scholarship benefits through text messages.

    If you receive the Rogers STEM Scholarship, we’ll send an opt-in text message to your primary phone number. We’ll ask if you’d like to receive updates about your VA STEM benefits by text message. To participate, respond “yes” within 7 days of receiving this message.

    You can also use STEMText to verify your attendance each month. Verifying by text instead of email can help you get your housing payments faster. We’ll send you a text message each month asking if you attended your STEM courses. To verify, just respond “yes.”

    Go to our STEMText video (YouTube) to learn more.

    Read the complete article posted on the VA Website.

How to THRIVE (Not Just Survive) When Your Active-Duty Spouse Retires


By Rebecca Hyleman

From the moment you stepped into your role as a military spouse you may have also started dreaming of your life beyond the confinements of this role, living life on YOUR terms. It may feel much longer, but those years will actually show up as fast as your spouse’s PT alarm. Whether you like it or not, it will soon be time to get up and get going on a whole new life.

Understand that this transition is going to take a toll on you and your family, but it’s important to make sure your own self-care and personal preparation is a priority, not an option. Start the process a minimum of 18-24 months before the anticipated-out date, meaning 6 months to a year BEFORE your spouse drops that paperwork to retire. A great place to start is by contacting VetsWhatsNext (, a nonprofit agency that assists veterans and their families by walking them through their transition before, during and after they officially leave the military.

If you are reading this looking for help and your spouse has already retired, as my spouse says, “If you wait until the last minute, it only takes a minute.” Start now.

Focus on Mental Health

Military spouses are often left out of the conversation about military mental health matters. Utilize Military One Source, Tricare or the Life Givers Network to find a counselor. Maybe you don’t feel like you need one, and that’s ok, look for one anyway. Search Psychology Today and find someone who looks like they will meet your needs, set up a quick five-minute introduction call or virtual meeting to see if that person could be a good fit for you.

If you are not in crisis, use the time to build rapport and create a safe space for yourself. A good therapist will help you fill your tool box with things you will need to be emotionally and mentally successful in the future. Think of this like you would a tune up. You could push your car’s mileage to wait for an oil change, but the problem is that you run the risk of major damage to your vehicle, which takes more time and parts to repair. That can be costly.

Finding a therapist before you need one sets you up for success and will help you stay in check. If something does happen, you’ll know exactly where to go (and will already be established).

Prioritize Physical Health

You may have missed appointments over the years or possibly asked a doctor to take a referral out of the system if you didn’t want to be placed into the EFMP system, unsure as to whether EFMP would risk your spouse’s career. You will, of course, be focused on your spouse, ensuring they have documented all of their medical records and are working to get their VA rating.

But what about your health? You might not be working towards a VA rating, but it doesn’t mean your health has not taken a toll over the years. Commit to finding a sitter, taking time off work and doing whatever needs to be done to prioritize getting your personal medical records in order.

Talk to your PCM (Primary Care Manger) about your needs, set up a physical and any other annual exams that may be coming up, create a plan to have refills of medications you may need, reach out to your military instillation, or other medical offices and gather your medical and vaccine records to create a file you can carry with you. If you have children, do the same for them.

Grow Through Personal Development

Consider hiring a Life Coach. Look for one who specializes in helping people with transitions. If you are not ready to jump into one-on-one coaching, start with a short workshop. Heyday Coaching’s Navigating Transitions 3-Part Workshop encouraged me to put down all of those things we carry as a military spouse, to take off the caregiver-helper hat and spend time reflecting and focusing on myself.

Dedicating specific time, with a Life Coach as my guide, I was finally able to start to answer the overwhelming questions that people were throwing my direction: “What do you want to do? Where do you want to live? Are you going to finally go back to work? What comes next for you?”

One would think that I had twenty-two years to answer these questions, but I found I was staying in the role of seeking what was best for everyone in the family, and I was putting myself last on the to-do list. A Life Coach can help you hear those needs you’ve been silencing — and no longer remember. Once you rediscover your needs, share them with your spouse.

Cultivate Professional Growth

Take advantage of free programs, like the “Arm-Me-Up Careers Campaign,” through Military Spouse Jobs, a non-profit with a mission for helping military spouse’s gain employment through no-cost job placement assistance and career progression services.

Also, create a LinkedIn account to start making professional connections.

Give Space and Time to Grieve

Grief is not an exclusive feeling to the death or loss of a loved one. The five stages of grief absolutely do occur when transitioning from active-duty military to civilian life. It will come in waves, and you might not be prepared for the things that will trigger the emotions. Give yourself grace as you ride the waves of denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Just when you feel you are in a sea of calm, something will happen such as, seeing friends share their next PCS assignment while you are treading water with no land in sight. The way your body will respond to simple emotional triggers may come as a surprise, but take the time to move through the feelings so that you don’t stay stuck or have them show up in a bigger way later. While you may be gaining a whole new life in retirement, you are still losing a way of life with your spouse that you’ve probably been in for at least two decades, and it’s important to give time and space to experience your emotions.

Reach Out and Make Connections

You have been a part of a uniquely connected military community, and it has helped shape you into the person you are today. Don’t think you have to walk completely away the day your spouse receives retirement orders, but do recognize you are going to be straddling the fence with one foot in the military world and one foot in the civilian one. It may take time to figure out how to balance being in both places. Find new ways to connect with people outside of your military community. If you are not working in a civilian community, volunteer with a non-military nonprofit, joining a gym or fitness group, meet up with locals who share a similar hobby or volunteer to be an assistant coach for a local recreational league. If you plan to move to a new location, or go back to your hometown, take time to reach out to contacts in the area and set up coffee dates ahead of time.

Create a Quiet Space

Find a place in your house that can be all yours. Think about emptying out just enough of your closet to make room for a yoga mat and some blank wall space. Some people like to start their day with prayer and meditation, but others struggle making their minds turn off for peaceful sleep. Instead of scrolling your phone, head into your quiet space just before bed. If you use your phone as an alarm, be sure to set the alarm before you go into your space to stave off the temptation to scroll.

Keep a stack of note cards, a nice notebook, some tape and your favorite pens in your space. Use the time before bed to write down whatever comes to mind. It could be a favorite quote, something about your family, things you want in your retirement home, any worries, job ideas or any positive praises from your day, then tape them to the wall. Some days you may just have one thing to put on a notecard, and that’s fine. Other days you may write a novel in your notebook.

Close your eyes and spend time sitting and breathing in the good things while exhaling the hard parts.

Set Boundaries

Repeat after me: YOU are not responsible for fulfilling the expectations of others. This is your life, and only you get to decide what happens next. I’m talking about your friends and family here, not your spouse. Please, include your spouse. You are going to have people in your life who have created their own scenarios for what they believe is best after your spouse retires. It’s heartwarming to know that people love you and want to plan your life for you, but it’s not their life, and YOU are not responsible for their feelings. The cool thing about being an adult leaving the military life is that you no longer have someone making decisions for you. For the first time in a long time, maybe ever, you don’t just have the illusion of choice, you actually have a say in the next steps of your life. When people around you want to insert their ideas, and their feelings, it’s ok to listen, but hold onto your paper and pen. This next story is finally yours to write.

Source: VetsWhatsNext

Why Veterans With GI Bill Benefits Still Take Out Student Loans

servicemember holding school books

Why are so many veterans taking out student loans when GI bill benefits cover full tuition and fees at public universities, and at least partial tuition and fees at private universities?

In new survey results released today, The Pew Charitable Trusts found that most veterans who take out student loans do so to pay living expenses. Even though bill benefits also include stipends to cover books, supplies, and housing allowances, veteran borrowers face unique challenges and often have to juggle additional financial obligations, such as child care.

Nearly 6 in 10 U.S. military veterans who have taken out student loans cite living expenses, such as housing and child care, as their main reason for borrowing, according to a first-of-its-kind, nationally representative survey of veterans who have taken out student loans.

The survey—conducted for The Pew Charitable Trusts among veterans who served after Sept. 11, 2001—helps shed light on a key mystery: why so many are taking on student loan debt despite having access to robust Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits.

A separate Pew analysis done earlier this year using U.S. Department of Education data found that just over a quarter of veterans in undergraduate programs took out loans, with a median amount of $8,000 in the 2015-16 academic year.

The questions in the survey were crafted to give a better sense of how veterans use the borrowed money, including a request to rank the expenses covered with student loan dollars. Among the key findings:

  • 58% of those who took out student loans said they borrowed primarily to cover living expenses. The most commonly cited were housing costs (21%) and day-to-day expenses, such as groceries and child care (17%). (See Figure 1 for more detail.)
  • 42% cited educational expenses as the primary cost they borrowed to cover. Most chose tuition and fees (36%), while a small proportion selected books and supplies (6%).

Read the complete article on

Answering Your Top Questions on the Yellow Ribbon Program

Veteran in uniform holding books with a U.S. flag behind him

The Yellow Ribbon Program, as many veterans turned students know, is a provision of the Post-9/11 GI Bill that can help cover the expenses that do not automatically apply for veterans.

Unlike the GI Bill, the Yellow Ribbon Program acts similarly to a scholarship, in that it must be met by certain criteria and enter into an agreement between your school and the Department of Veteran Affairs. This provision, though helpful, can come with a lot of questions on its proceedings. Here are some of the top questions on the Yellow Ribbon Program, answered.

What do I need to qualify for the Yellow Ribbon Program?

To qualify to receive the Yellow Ribbon benefits a veteran must meet at least one of the following criteria:

  • Served at least 36 months on active duty (either all at once or with breaks in service)
  • Received a Purple Heart on or after September 11, 2001, and were honorably discharged after any amount of service
  • Served for at least 30 continuous days (all at once, without a break) on or after September 11, 2001, and were discharged after 60 days with a service-connected disability
  • Are a dependent child using benefits transferred by a Veteran or a service member who has served for at least 36 months on active duty and qualifies at the 100% level
  • Are a Fry Scholar (eligible for the Yellow Ribbon Program on or after August 1, 2018

What does my school need to qualify for the Yellow Ribbon Program?

For schools to eligible in the Yellow Ribbon Program, they must adhere to all of the following criteria:

  • Must be an institution of higher learning
  • Offers the Yellow Ribbon Program
  • Hasn’t offered the Yellow Ribbon benefit to more than the maximum number of students in their agreement with the VA
  • Has certified your enrollment with the VA and provided Yellow Ribbon Program information

How do benefits work through the program?

Money to help pay for the higher cost of tuition at a private school or for attendance as a nonresident student at a public school. If you qualify, your school will contribute a certain amount toward your extra tuition and fees through a grant, scholarship, or similar program. Whatever contribution is provided will be matched by the VA.
Do all students in the Yellow Ribbon Program receive the same amount of funding?

This depends on the school. Schools can choose to offer different amounts to students based on 2 factors:

  • Student status (undergraduate, graduate, doctoral), and
  • Type of school (college or professional)

For example, a school could provide $1,000 for undergraduates, $1,500 for graduate students and $2,000 for doctoral students. The school also could provide $1,800 for students in the school of engineering and $2,500 for students in the school of nursing.

Will all of my tuition and fees be paid if my school participates in the Yellow Ribbon Program?

This depends on the agreement we have with your school. Your school’s agreement with the VA states how much it will contribute and how much we’ll match. This amount makes up all or part of the difference between what the Post-9/11 GI Bill will pay and the unmet tuition and fees.

What fees will the program cover?

The Yellow Ribbon Program may cover any required fees to your education. This does not include penalty fees, room and board, and study abroad programs that are not required to your graduation.

Do I have to attend full time to be in the Yellow Ribbon Program?

No, part-time students may also qualify.

If I participate in the program this year, will I automatically receive the same amount of funding next year?

Yes, as long as you stay enrolled without interruption.

If I leave my school, but return after a semester, am I still approved for the Yellow Ribbon Program?

If the school still offers the program, they must continue to give you funding as long as you meet all of the requirements listed below:

  • Make acceptable progress toward completing your school
  • Stay enrolled in the school without a break (following the school’s policy)
  • Have money left in your Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits

Source: Wikipedia and the Department of Veterans Affairs

10 Tips for College-Seeking Veterans

Veteran in uniform holding books with a U.S. flag behind him

These tips are courtesy of the National Association of Veterans’ Programs Administrator (NAVPA).

These are their 10 best suggestions for returning veterans thinking about going to college as reported to U.S. News and World Report.

  1. Start by applying. Whether you are a first-time college student or a transfer student, you must fill out an application. Go to the school’s website to find the requirement and deadlines. Provide transcripts and test scores as needed and your DD-214 for credits you might have earned while in the service. Take a tour of the campus—either online or in person.
  2. Meet the School Certifying Official. Find the Veterans Office on campus and introduce yourself. You will be asked to provide various documents and complete different forms so your enrollment can be certified to the VA.
  3. Get your GI Bill benefits. There are many different programs and a wide variety of education benefits offered by the VA. The Post-9/11 GI Bill (including Transfer of Benefits), Montgomery GI Bill, the Yellow Ribbon Program, and Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment, to name a few. Additionally, individual states offer varying opportunities to National Guardsmen (some of the benefits come with different levels of eligibility). Whether you are a reservist, in the National Guard, or on active duty, you should check the VA website or discuss your benefits with the school’s certifying official. You can find a wealth of information—as well as the application for benefits—at the GI Bill website.
  4. Apply for financial aid. All students can apply for financial aid by filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by going to This aid can be for grants, loans, and/or work-study.
  5. Apply for scholarships. There are many types of scholarships available based on merit, academics, or athletics, as well as private and general scholarships by area of interest. Some schools offer scholarships specifically for veterans. You just have to look. Check the school’s website and always remember: do not pay for any scholarship application.
  6. Find a place to live. The key to being placed in housing is making sure you indicate you are a veteran on all forms. By doing so, you may be able to select a roommate from the beginning. Otherwise, you might be assigned a room with traditional students (just out of high school), which can be awkward with your recent military experience. Many colleges have housing set aside for veterans; make use of it.
  7. Get an advisor. Every student is assigned to an advisor. Some schools have advisors specifically for veterans; smaller schools may not, but curriculum is standard for majors at each school. Interaction with the advisor will assist you in developing a suitable educational plan, making your course selections, and determining your major. This person will get to know you and empower you in decision-making skills in education, career, and life choices.
  8. Take the CLEP. The College Level Examination Program is a series of exams you can take to test your college-level knowledge on what you have learned through on-the-job training, professional development, etc. There is a wide range of exams both general and subjective, with up to six credits each. The cost of a CLEP is fractional compared to the cost of tuition and fees. It could assist in skipping general introductory courses, general education classes, or could even demonstrate your ability in a foreign language.
  9. Connect with other veterans on campus. Veterans Centers are popping up on many campuses. They are the place to meet other veterans, to do peer-to-peer networking, to connect student veterans with resources, and to help you to get involved or simply hang out. If there is no center on campus, start one. Student Veterans of America can assist you in forming a chapter at your school.
  10. Get career training and develop skills. Career services and job placement are available for you while getting your education. Resume writing and mock interviews are offered. You can be placed in an internship or co-op program related to your career goal and earn college credits as well as a stipend or small paycheck.

Source: Aims Community College

Providing Business, DVBE. Employment & Educational Opportunities For Veterans

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