The massive technology shift in the past decade is forcing even the most solid programs to go through a much-needed revamping. The newest one in the headlines is the GI Bill. More than 75 years old, this historic bill came in just when we needed it most, to offer benefits to veterans who came home from World War II without jobs, education, or skills.
The GI Bill provided these veterans all the education and training they needed to find employment, and it continues to do so for vets today. It also offers them low-cost home loans, takes care of unemployment payments when necessary, and handles the health care for vets. The GI Bill and its evolution have been part of higher education for millions of people over the past decades, but now it is changing.
How the GI Bill Has Helped Higher Education
Because the focus of the GI Bill is on vets who need assistance assimilating into the civilian world, it’s understandable that a large portion of the bill was geared toward higher education learning. Giving individuals the ability to return to school and continue their learning goals has resulted in hundreds of thousands of employment opportunities, tens of thousands of people removed from poverty, and a substantial return on the investment of the Real Gross Domestic Product.
Higher education has felt the effect in terms of more students, requiring larger institutions and more instructors. This return came back to the workforce and economy of the United States as new graduates left the campus and entered the working world. However, many of the policies in the GI Bill were outdated, particularly in lieu of the technological innovations in academics.
Recent Changes to Be Aware Of
Changes to the bill were necessary, but the intent was to make it easier for individuals to leverage the benefits without losing focus on the overall goal. To do this, the Digital GI Bill was established. This bill provides support to veterans with more efficient processes and higher standards of service, two areas that were admittedly lacking the previous rollout. Now, higher education personnel and veterans using the bill will notice:
● More opportunities for current service members and veterans to choose their academic career paths, and advancement of eligible family members who quality for this benefit
● Stronger, more innovative programs that encourage growth and employment in fields that are in high demand now but may not have existed 75 years ago
● Training with tools that are necessary to thrive in today’s society
● Extended benefits when training for a job in a high-demand industry, including housing stipends during attendance and job placement, up through age 67
These changes will impact higher education institutions as more veterans and current service members utilize their benefits to pursue their academic career goals. Schools will need to increase the ability to provide training for these in-demand jobs, and adjust how they are handling the diversity in age groups. This is particularly true because of the shift to encouraging new career education through age 67.
Another change is how GI Bill education benefits can be transferred. Previously, dependents and family members were defined as immediate family. Now, stepchildren and wards in the care of a service member or veteran are included as the eligible recipients of the GI Bill’s program.
Other advancements to this bill that don’t relate to education directly are also included in the changes. The overarching goal is to adjust the bill to include modernized, digitalized enhancements. Even with so many massive, complex, and exciting differences on the horizon, the bill should be rolled out in time for the education system, and students, to be usable immediately.
Networking With Veterans on Impactio
Impactio is another platform that supports and encourages military members and veterans. Whether you’re the direct member, or a researcher or funder looking to work with them, Impactio’s networking features help connect you to the right people.
In fact, Impactio is the largest scientific networking platform in the United States, and the reach of people connected to you as a member is global. When you’re ready to find grants for military members, perform research with a veteran, or connect with those entering the academic world from the military sector, Impactio has the tools to bring you together.