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Mission Critical: Education and the Army’s Soldier for Life Program

Maj. George Coleman, Education Director, U.S. Army Soldier for Life

Seventy-one years ago, in the midst of World War II, Congress passed the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944—better known as the GI Bill. In the peak year of 1947, Veterans accounted for 49 percent of college admissions. By July 25, 1956, when the original GI Bill expired, 7.8 million of 16 million World War II Veterans participated in an education or training program.

Today, the Post-9/11 GI Bill has positively impacted millions of Veterans and their Families. Thousands of colleges and universities are supplementing Post-P/11 GI Bill benefits in order to facilitate admission.

On July 9, 2015, Soldier for Life participated in a webinar hosted by the American Council on Education (ACE), “Mission Critical: Education and the Army’s Soldier for Life Program.” In the webinar, Soldier for Life gave a snapshot overview of who today’s Veterans are and answered audience questions. Click here to access the full audio recording of the webinar.

Who are today’s student veterans?

  • Majority are male.
  • 27% female (compared to 18% of female service members.)
  • 15% are normal college age (18-23 years old.)
  • Many are supporting a family while also attending school.

What do student veterans bring to the college environment?

  • Many have traveled around the world.
  • Many have experience managing and supervising others.
  • Soldiers are taught how to be a member of a team, how to lead and how to follow.
  • Probably have a better understanding of what they want to do with their degree.
  • Despite what you may see on TV, not all veterans suffer from PTSD or struggle with other emotional or behavioral issues.

Why is this important to the Retired Soldier community?
As a young Soldier, you were trained and mentored by an older and wiser generation. You learned the Army profession, the warrior ethos and values. As you progressed through your military career, you became the trainer and the mentor.

As a Soldier for Life, that responsibility does not waver. This next generation of retiring or transitioning Soldiers and Veterans needs guidance and support as they navigate the civilian world, pursuing education opportunities and eventually finding meaningful employment. The Army Soldier for Life Network is your opportunity to mentor this new generation.

Join the Army Soldier for Life Network today: www.linkedin.com/grp/home?gid=6627257