Unlike most of the work we do here at IAVA, I have spent the past couple of months training a new cadre of front line aides who will assist in the implementation of the Post 9/11 GI bill. These new GI Bill experts are financial aid administrators at schools across the country, many of whom are a veteran’s only source of information on available education benefits.
My most recent trip to Boston was a big success. The conference I attended had over 65 financial aid administrators from every graduate program in Massachusetts. I was the keynote speaker and by the end these aids will be able to help veterans navigate this new benefit. I also think that I convinced many of them to participate in the new Yellow Ribbon program which will help veterans afford attending graduate programs or more expensive private schools. This particular group of attendees represented key players in the higher education industry because many universities, like Harvard, were in attendance. And if Harvard were to sign up for the Yellow Ribbon program many other universities would also follow suit.
Lastly, I recently had a great meeting with VA Department of Education about the implementation of the new Post 9/11 GI Bill. They will be sending out a letter explaining the new Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits to every eligible veteran who is no longer on active duty. They have also taken to heart our insistence that they start training schools and veterans service groups on the new benefits. They recently announced that their first three training sessions for colleges and universities will be held in January in Los Angeles, Chicago and D.C.