Vets graduate without debt

Suzi Starheim

GI Bill promises full tuition for Iraq veterans

Adam Holliday will graduate from Kent State debt-free.

The junior political science major, ROTC cadet and Iraq veteran was on active duty for three years in Fort Campbell and was then deployed to Iraq from Sept. 2005 to Sept. 2006.

Holliday is now attending Kent State on the Post 9/11 GI Bill.

“The biggest benefit of it was the fact that, as well as paying for my school, it provided me something to live on, which is a big concern because it’s a lot harder right now to find a job,” Holliday said.

Under the Post 9/11 GI Bill, veterans who have been in active duty for at least three years since Sept. 11, 2001, get the benefits associated with the new bill.

Josh Rider, assistant director of Adult and Veteran Services, said the Post 9/11 GI Bill pays for 100 percent of Kent State tuition. It also allows each veteran $500 per semester for textbooks and gives each veteran a basic housing allowance of $1,007 per month.

“At this same time in Spring 2009, we had about 330 veterans using all other chapters of Montgomery GI Bill combined,” he said. “Now we are at 500 veterans.”

Popular majors for veterans seem to be nursing, justice studies and aeronautics, Rider said.

“In many cases, they’ve had experience with that,” he said. “They tend to go into what they did in armed forces.”

Holliday said the Post 9/11 GI Bill also helped cover expenses outside of tuition.

“There’s books, there’s making it to campus everyday, there’s managing to find somewhere to live and all those other things that come with it that the old GI Bill didn’t take into consideration,” he said.

Rider said the overall benefit of the Post 9/11 GI Bill is it allows veterans who are just getting out of service to come back and enter right into school without having to worry about student loans.

Matt Baab, senior history major

and cadet executive officer, said

he is benefitting from the National

Guard GI Bill.

“I’m actually making more

money going to school now as a

student than I was as a full-time

recruiter,” Baab said.

Baab started at Kent State in Fall

2006 after serving in Iraq from 2003

to 2004 and was a staff sergeant

before choosing to attend.

“I have a National Guard GI

Bill, which brings in a little over

1,000 dollars a month on top of all

my other paychecks,” he said.

Along with the Post 9/11 GI Bill

came changes to how Kent State

made veterans feel comfortable.

“What was formerly the adult student center is now the Center

for Adult and Veteran Services,”

Rider said. “It kind of

makes veterans feel supported

and connected.”

The Counseling and

Human Development Center

in White Hall also works to

make veterans feel comfortable

on campus.

“A couple of veterans have

come in and talk about job and

financial issues and balancing

life issues,” Miller said. “We

don’t have any specific programs

set up for veterans.”

Miller said overall, he hasn’t

seen many veterans coming in

for post-traumatic stress disorder,

and, most of the time, veterans

just have trouble readjusting

to regular life.

“If someone walks in with

the most severe case of PTSD

that we have ever seen, we are

still able to help that person, talk to them in a comfortable and calm

manner and then help them get

from point A to point B to where

they can get the best services,” he

said. “If someone comes in that has

a relatively mild case, then we are

able to actually provide them services

here. “

In 2009, the department saw

1,200 to 1,400 clients, and Miller

said fewer than five of those clients

were veterans.

Miller said there is one thing

all veterans should remember

when attending a university after

active duty.

“There is a better life out there

and there are ways of just washing

off the war,” he said. “We are here

to help you.”

Contact academics reporter Suzi

Starheim at [email protected].