In many ways, advising a veteran who wants to start or return to higher education after military service is no different from advising another mature student.
Like other returning mature students, veterans often wonder how college will fit into their already busy schedules, whether they will have the tools to be successful in an academic environment, and what program will best help them achieve their goals. professional objectives. And, like most students, they wonder how they’re going to pay for their degree.
Through federal benefits such as the Post 9/11 GI Bill (Chapter 33) and state benefits such as the Wisconsin GI Bill, veterans – and in some cases their family members – can receive a full refund or partial tuition fees for post-secondary education or other training.
I asked Joe Rasmussen, director of university veterans services at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, to share some ideas on the benefits of education for Wisconsin veterans.
What does the Wisconsin GI Bill cover?
The Wisconsin GI Bill is for eligible veterans and their families and can cover any level of education at any school in the University of Wisconsin or Wisconsin Technical College System. This benefit can be used with or after certain Federal GI Bill benefits to earn a degree or pursue additional education, including credit courses and official certificate programs.
How Do Veterans Claim Federal and Wisconsin GI Benefits?
The application for most federal benefits can be viewed online. Applying to the Wisconsin GI Bill is a two-part process. The Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs certifies the veteran’s eligibility, and then the educational institution must determine if the student meets the legal requirements.
I advise veterans to apply for these benefits early, as the process can take up to three months in some cases. Also, don’t skip the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) app. Many students use federal aid with the GI Bill or choose to keep their GI Bill for future education programs starting with financial aid only.
Who can students talk to at their institution to learn more about Veterans Benefits?
If you are interested in attending UW-Madison, you can contact our University Veterans Services office. The benefits for education can be very specific from one school to another. Other veterans organizations can help with applications, but prospective students should connect with the school they wish to attend before enrolling.
What else do you want veterans to know about education benefits?
Please consider using the educational benefits you have earned. College is very different from high school, and the skills you developed in the military often translate well into academia. I encourage all veterans to find and register for a program or course that interests them. Start with a course if you have any concerns and just enjoy the learning experience.
GI BillÂ® is a registered trademark of the United States Department of Veterans Affairs. More information on the educational services offered by VA can be found at benefits.va.gov/gibill.
The Lifelong Learner is a monthly article written by the Continuing Studies staff at UW-Madison. Ace Hilliard, Student Services Coordinator, can be reached at [email protected]. You can contact Joe Rasmussen at [email protected]. This article first appeared in the Wisconsin State Journal November 14, 2021.