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.
Until the new 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.