Excellent article. This is a problem that needs to be addressed. However, there are other educational benefits not listed in the article that service members have. I'll cover some of the Navy benefits as those are the ones which I'm most familiar.
One of the benefits is "Tuition Assistance." Under this program, the military pays 100 percent educational cost (except books) for up to sixteen semester credit hours per year. There's a cap, of course, of $250.00 per semester hour but most colleges fall under that.
Another benefit is the SOCNAV program. This is an agreement between the service member and the college of his or her choice that details the credit given for military experience (rating, physical education, first aid etc.) and other technical schools the member has completed. Under this program, the member knows exactly what classes he or she needs to fulfill either an Associate's Degree (SOCNAV-2) or Bachelor's Degree (SOCNAV-4).
Deployed Sailors can use the NCPACE courses (distance learning) and most of the larger ships have college instructors that deploy so college classes can be attended.
Alas, my brothers and sisters in the US Army or US Marine Corps may not have the opportunity to take advantage of these benefits while on active duty. Which is why proposals such as those of Webb are so important.
I am really pleased to see this issue being addressed by The Nation. Keep up the great work!
F. J. Fritz
Virginia Beach, VA
Nov 28 2007 - 6:04pm