Crisann Hanes, NASPA IV-W Veterans KC Representative
October 2, 2017
Big news for student veterans and military-connected students - the “Forever GI Bill,” or Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2017 was signed into law by the President in August. The “Forever GI Bill” is the largest comprehensive change to veteran and military-connected education benefits since the original Montgomery GI Bill in 1944. Although the majority of provisions in the bill don’t go into effect until 2018, there is one immediate change campuses need to be aware of. Under the “Forever GI Bill,” the 15-year limit for veterans to use their VA Education Benefits is eliminated for veterans discharged on or after January 1st, 2013. Now is the time for campuses to learn about all the changes, and how the “Forever GI Bill” will impact student veterans and military-connected students on your campuses and in your communities. More information on the “Forever GI Bill” can be found on the Department of Veterans Affairs website at https://www.benefits.va.gov/GIBILL/forevergibill.asp.
Next month brings Veteran’s Day on November 11th. This is an opportunity for institutions to honor and engage student veterans and military-connected students, faculty, and staff on their campuses – and the veteran community at large. Many student veteran’s organizations and campuses with active veteran and military-connected student populations are working to bring more attention to Veterans Day through campus events around the holiday. At Oklahoma State University all students, faculty and staff are invited to place flags on the Edmon Low Library Lawn. One flag is placed for each life lost in the conflicts since 9/11. Last year over 1,700 flags were placed. This event has proved to be an opportunity for dialogue between veteran students, faculty, and staff, and non-veteran students, faculty, and staff. It has created an important opportunity among students on a more traditionally-aged campus. How does your campus recognize Veteran’s Day? The Veterans Knowledge Community wants to hear from you – connect with us on Twitter @NASPA_VKC, or on Facebook.
Finally, while many in Region IV-W are gearing up for the regional conference in November, don’t forget about all the other professional development opportunities NASPA offers, like the Symposium on Military-Connected Students in February. This year the Veterans KC is headed to New Orleans for our annual Symposium on Military-Connected Students (previously the Veterans Symposium of Higher Education). This year’s conference promises to be invigorating, renewing, and rewarding. If you work with, support, advocate for, or have an interest in learning more about student veterans and military-connected students we hope you will join us in New Orleans from February 15th-17th, 2018!
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