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Critics warn that some schools are misleading veterans, giving them expensive educations with little chance of a job or credit transfer.
WASHINGTON -- After Moses Maddox left the Marine Corps in 2006, he took a sales job with the for-profit University of Phoenix, making up to 100 calls a day to persuade veterans to enroll using their GI Bill benefits.
Only after he enrolled himself did the former corporal discover that the state university he wanted to attend didn't accept the nine course credits he'd earned at Phoenix.
"Basically, I wasted my GI Bill benefits -- just like a lot of other veterans I talk to," said Maddox, who until recently was a veterans benefits counselor at Palomar College in San Diego County.
Some former soldiers in North Carolina say they've had to fight inconsistencies in how University of North Carolina campuses grant in-state residency for lower tuition.
One soldier said she was accepted by Fayetteville State University as a North Carolina resident but classified as out-of-state by UNC-Pembroke.
At stake is thousands of dollars per semester. Veteran students have been scrambling since last year to prove they are in-state students since cost-cutting changes were imposed on the GI Bill, according to the N.C. Student Veterans Advocacy Group. A year ago, the GI Bill program quit paying out-of-state rates at public colleges and universities.
Back in the spring, close to 50 unemployed young veterans gathered in a state agency building in Richardson to learn how to rework their résumés and make themselves more attractive job candidates.
The first speaker was someone from the University of Phoenix, a mammoth for-profit college that does an overwhelming amount of its educating online, not in classrooms. She passed out brochures, then detailed why the veterans should use their generous education benefits at her school.
Jim DePaolo, laid off just weeks before, was stunned.
'Blatantly misleading' enlistment agreements acknowledged
At the time, the deal seemed irresistible to Eric Hickam: Give six years to the Army, a recruiter told him in 2003, and you can get a $50,000 "kicker" -- the Army College Fund.
When his payments started coming last fall, his first year at Columbia University in New York City, the amount fell far short of what Hickam had anticipated. He thought the college fund was a bonus on top of his GI Bill, worth about $35,000 at the time. The Army says the $50,000 figure was a total of all benefits. Last month, it denied Hickam's appeal seeking $50,000 more than what he's receiving for his GI Bill.
Official site of the Department of Veterans Affairs. Allows you to apply for benefits online, research schools, calculate your benefits and, if you get stuck, ask a question right then and there.
Department of Veterans Affairs' step by step â€œRoadmap for Successâ€ to determine what GI BILL benefits or combination of benefits are the best fit for you.
The American Council for Education â€“ the national organization for accredited, degree-granting colleges and universities and higher education associations within the United States â€“ GI Bill site includes step by step guides determining your eligibility, calculating your benefits and much more.
Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans for America (IAVA) is the first and largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans. With over 200,000 Member Veterans and supporters nationwide, IAVA strives to build the New Greatest Generation. Our programs empower our community online and offline, and include Smart Job Fairs, our signature New GI Bill calculator and Community of Veterans, a veterans only social network.
The Veterans Benefits Administration offers a variety of benefits and services to spouses, children, and parents of Servicemembers and Veterans who are deceased or totally and permanently disabled by a service-connected disability
Veterans Information Service publishes an annual book and a monthly supplemental bulletin service. These unparalleled publications provide veterans and their families a single source of timely, easily accessible benefits information, including public record, pending legislation, bills, laws and policies of the various US government Veterans Administration organizations and their subsidiaries.