Thursday, December 2, 2010
The Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities (APSCU) released an interview with Paul Rieckhoff, Executive Director of the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), discussing the challenges America faces in properly integrating veterans and military service members in higher education.
“There’s a real divide between the military community and the rest of the population. They don’t understand length of service, they don’t understand the extent of the sacrifice, they don’t understand terminology. It’s a very, very basic divide. There are challenges that face us across the board. It comes down to the fact that most folks don’t know a vet. If we can bridge that gap and help educate them about who we are and what we can do it’s a win-win for every body. We always say it’s not just charity but investment. It’s an investment in young folks coming home and it’s an investment in the future of our country,” Reickhoff told APSCU.
According to the 2007-08 National Postsecondary Student Aid Study, during the 2007-09 academic year, approximately 660,000 undergraduates were veterans, roughly three percent of all undergraduates. Of the top 15 postsecondary institutions who serve post-9/11 G.I. Bill students, seven are private sector colleges and universities.
Rieckhoff discussed whether higher education institutions have adequate support services to meet veterans’ needs and whether there is a cultural divide between the military and higher education communities. Rieckhoff also offered his blueprint for how higher education can be adapted to better meet the needs of veterans looking to gain the education, skills and training required to be competitive in a 21st century economy.
When asked about private sector colleges and universities (PSCUs), Rieckohff noted the large number of veterans – nineteen percent of those receiving GI Bill benefits - who chose to attend those schools is evidence of their value. “Ultimately, good value is determined by the veterans. If the veterans are using it they’re seeing good value. They’re discriminating customers. I think just like the rest of millennial generation they’re going to go where they think they get good value. To some extent the market is going to drive it, if they see value there,” said Rieckhoff.
The interview can be found on APSCU’s website.
Posted by APSCU User at 5:24 PM