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Web Letter

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

Web Letter

Sorry to hear about the problems, but they are nothing new. As a veteran, I ran into this hill in 1981, after my discharge. During that time, there was no GI Bill of any sort. It was then called the VEAP (Veterans Education Assistance Program), which was next to worthless. The program consisted of me giving up $100 dollars a month (E-3 pay at the time $350/mo), for $200/mo in education pay. Among the many problems was that for my records to go from Dallas (I believe) to Phoenix it took an astounding nine months (that's an entire school year with no benefits). I told them then that I could walk that in that amount of time (I got that dull doe-eyed look then, you know, the one of utter incompetence).

Remember, this was before all the whiz-bang computer junk. I would not expect dear old Uncle Sam to be any more efficient today. I personally feel for all the GI's that have to deal with one mud pit after the other.

The situation is crappy and the only way out is to get as far away from it as possible, and to go live your life the best that you can manage, and to understand that the clowns that are "elected" have no other interest than lining their own pockets, no matter what they say. Just look at McCain, he has not represented anyone in Arizona for the last twenty years, and Kolbe split before he was lynched. Just a word to the wise...

Allen Lawrence

Tucson, AZ

Nov 27 2007 - 10:42pm

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