The New York Times today (1 November) offers a feature, "Combat to College", on the 21st Century G.I. Bill described in a June 2008 feature in Science Careers on veterans returning to school to study science and engineering. The Times feature today includes a video
of Ismael Valenzuela, a former U.S. Marine making the transition to
studies at a New York City community college after two tours in Iraq.
In the video Valenzuela describes many of the same experiences discussed by veterans in the Science
Careers feature: his reasons for taking advantage of educational
benefits, the battle with memory loss from post-traumatic stress
disorder, and the value of veterans’ support groups on his campus. The
clip also shows how an admissions officer at the school helped
Valenzuela with the enrollment process; the admissions officer
describes the importance of college administrators being sensitive to
the needs of returning veterans.
G.I. Bill goes into effect in August 2009, community colleges, because
of their lower tuition costs, will likely absorb many more of the
returning veterans such as Valenzuela. Our feature in June told about eight veterans
who returned from service in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Korea to
undergraduate and graduate studies at universities. The veterans told
Science Careers how the current (Montgomery) G.I. Bill defrayed some of
their college costs, but most of the veterans interviewed had to
supplement the G.I. Bill with other means, such as state or
institutional financial aid.
The Times feature also has a primer on the new bill’s benefits and a page with additional resources for veterans.