National veteran benefits expand

Veterans and service members and how can get help transitioning into civilian life by visiting the Veteran's Affairs lounge in Arjona. (Tyler Benton/The Daily Campus)

The U.S. Department of Education joined the U.S. Department of Defense and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to improve benefits veterans receive after their service.

The partnership will help veterans and service members in their transition to civilian life, specifically into higher education.

At the University of Connecticut, veterans and their family members can receive benefits through the Veterans Affairs and Military Programs Office. There are several benefit programs, such as the Post 9/11 GI Bill, vocational rehabilitation benefits, Connecticut Vets Tuition Waiver and the Reserve and National Guard benefits, according to fifth-semester mechanical engineering student Spencer Cohen.

The new national partnership will provide programs to inform veterans about their available benefits, such as the Veterans Affair’s GI Bill Comparison Tool which helps veterans pick a college to maximize their time, money and benefits.

The Department of Education grant programs will now include personalized academic counseling and support to veterans.  

“We must always remember that, despite the danger of military service, our nation’s service members and veterans willingly took the solemn oath to defend the Constitution of the United States,” U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr. said in the press release. “We must not only thank them for their service, but also make sure we support them as they pursue the benefits of a quality college education. The collaborative efforts of our federal agencies will help ensure that they receive the support they deserve to succeed.”

At the same time as the education and veterans partnership, the White House issued a presidential memorandum instructing federal agencies to take steps to promote fair practices in education and training programs for veterans.

“Connecticut is a phenomenal state for veteran benefits,” Cohen said. “The Post-9/11 GI Bill affords me a basic allowance for housing, fees, tuition and even textbooks. It’s an all-around good program. Although the benefit packages are all slightly different, they all have a common goal: getting veterans to go to school.”

According to the Department of Education, the Post-9/11 GI Bill has provided $68.9 billion in education benefits to nearly 1.7 million individuals to date.

“I’m grateful that our country and state provides me with such great opportunities to help me re-assimilate into the civilian world in exchange for my years of service,” Cohen said.


Claire Galvin is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at claire.galvin@uconn.edu.