25,000 Veterans Sign Up for New Post 9/11 G.I. Bill® in First Two Weeks

The Christian Science Monitor published a great article on the popularity of the new and very generous Post 9/11 G.I. Bill® coming into effect at the end of this summer.  Since the Department of Veterans Affairs began accepting online applications on May 1st more than 25,000 veterans have submitted an application.  The new bill is effective for classes/programs that start on/after August 1, 2009.

While no one is yet sure when this will translate into increased numbers of veterans applying to colleges and universities in order to pursue college degrees and/or certificates, there is no denying that interest in using the program is very high, unlike previous versions of the G.I. Bill®.

So, what should colleges and universities be doing now to prepare for a return of military veterans to campus in the coming years?  This question and many more are addressed in a new 1-day workshop offered by The Value Of a Veteran. If you are a College/University Director of HR, Admissions, Student Life, Veterans Services, Office of Disabilities, or Diversity, I encourage you to go to The Value Of a Veteran website for more details on this workshop and to request a sample agenda.

But, wait a minute – isn’t this a forum for recruiters and hiring managers?  Why should we care about the new Post 9/11 G.I. Bill®? You may already know that I advocate using colleges & universities as a source for hiring veterans. I cover the technique in my web seminar “Military Applicant Sourcing Options” and I have written two blog articles in this forum on the subject. Here’s how you can use knowledge of the Post 9/11 G.I. Bill® and its effects on veterans applying to higher education institutions to help you recruit on campus:

Let’s say you have a recurring need to hire geospatial analysts. The ideal candidate should have a bachelor’s degree in Geospatial Intelligence (or related program), a minimum 4 years of experience, and a current security clearance. Wouldn’t it be extremely helpful to for you to know:

  • Which colleges/universities offer geospatial intelligence degrees? (You may already have this information.)
  • Whether those colleges/universities have created a “veteran friendly” environment to maximize the likeliness that service members will want to use their Post 9/11 G.I. Bill® benefits there? (You’ll have to ask.)
  • Whether those colleges/universities are marketing their geospatial degree programs to the military to attract veterans with clearances and real-world experience in geospatial intelligence? (You’ll have to ask.)
  • Whether you could build/improve your relationships with those colleges/universities and offer internships or other incentives to influence those degree-seeking veterans to apply to your company?

If you determine that some of your standard sources of colleges/universities are missing the mark when it comes to attracting veterans to campus, you can let them know they are missing a huge opportunity by not actively trying to attract veterans to their degree programs. Then you can tell them to give me a call and I’d be happy to get them on the right path.

GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). More information about education benefits offered by VA is available at the official U.S. government website at https://www.benefits.va.gov/gibill.