One of the many lasting legacies of President Franklin D. Roosevelt is the G.I. Bill, also known as the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944. This profound piece of legislation still helps provide benefits to military veterans—including low-cost mortgages, low-interest small-business loans and cash payments for tuition and living expenses to attend college.
Several years after September 11th and subsequent military activity and deployment overseas, Student Veterans of America was formed to ensure these benefits—and new ones, relevant to a 21st-century U.S. society and its veterans’ experiences—were maintained and enhanced for military veterans seeking to improve their lives using G.I. benefits to go earn a bachelor’s degree. Toward the end of his second term, President George W. Bush signed into law the Post 9/11 G.I. Bill, thanks, in part, to the efforts of the SVA. The bill provides education benefits for men and women who have served on active duty for at least 90 days since September 10, 2001. Some of these benefits include tuition, monthly housing allowances and books.
As an advocate for the higher education of veterans, the SVA has launched the Million Records Project in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the National Student Clearinghouse. The project is a study which examines the outcomes of student veterans in higher education including rate of completion, degrees attained and degree fields. The goal of the study is to help guide future veteran higher education policy based on the data.
Student Veterans of America is a global coalition of student veterans groups on college campuses. Every member chapter works its own campus to help veterans reintegrate into student life and succeed on their academic pathways. Each chapter also must be recognized as an official student group by their respective campus in order to provide a network for enrolled student veterans. The chapters help coordinate activities for their students and provide services vital to veterans needs, including connecting alumni to maximize employment opportunities.
The Student Veterans of America 8th National Conference will take place on January 7-10, 2016, in Orlando, Florida. Keynote speakers include Vice President of the United States Joe Biden and Secretary of Veteran Affairs Robert A. McDonald. The conference plays a vital role in annually assessing the university challenges, environment and opportunities for veterans in order to provide ongoing and evolving support for U.S. military personnel in their transition back into domestic life.
Sam McPherson is a freelance writer covering baseball, football, basketball, golf, hockey and fantasy sports for CBS Local, AXS.com and Examiner.com. He also is an Ironman triathlete and certified triathlon coach.