Thank you for Serving


2011 BAH Rate Increase!

From the VA site on January 20, 2011 10:00 AM

Effective January 1, 2011, DoD adjusted most housing rates. VA’s housing payments under the Post-9/11 GI Bill are based on the E-5 with dependents level for the zip code where you attend school. The DoD rates changed in January, so if your housing rate went up, you will see it in your February payment. Your payments will update to the 2011 rates automatically.

If your housing rate decreased for 2011, you will continue to receive the higher 2010 rate unless you change schools or have more than a 6-month break in school attendance.

You can see the new rates at


Military Spouses: Lawmakers order review of education opportunities

Army Times is reporting that tucked into the 2011 defense authorization bill is a requirement that defense officials conduct an extensive review of military spouse education programs to determine their effectiveness.  They also want to know if these programs are helping with retention. 

No doubt this is a direct effect from the cries of so many military spouses after the MyCAA debacle - first it was there, then it was not and then it was cut - drastically.  All done with poor communication and no apparent input from spouses. 

DoD officials have 180 days after the bill is signed by President Obama to conduct their analysis.  Now - I tend to be a bit of a cynic when it comes to DoD analysis since it usually proves the point they want to prove - but I will hope for the best and that they determine that helping military spouses get a solid education will lead to better jobs which leads to improved family life which will help our younger service members stay in the military longer.


MyCAA Use Down / GI Bill Changes

The new MyCAA program is certainly not getting used as much as the old MyCAA – only 18,000 spouses have taken advantage of the program since it re-started in October compared to 136,000 who signed up for the old version. Many spouses are confused about who can take advantage of it and whether it will work for their education goals. Please help get the word out so spouses don’t miss out on this program.


• New England College of Business and Finance has an Associate Degree in Business for ALL military spouses with a total tuition cost of $4,000 and less than $100 is fees.

• American College of Education has master’s degrees leading to a certificate that qualify for MyCAA (because of the certificate part) and the total tuition for a master’s degree is $6,950:

American University System welcomes Texas A&M Commerce to our partner schools. They are offering an online Executive MBA with a $5,000 military tuition grant for a total cost of $694 per credit hour. They also offer a BS in Business Administration online for a total cost of just over $15,000.

Florida International University has awarded over $1,000,000 in military scholarships in the last 6 months for their online Corporate MBA - - All active duty, veterans and family members qualify for the $10,000 scholarship.

Lamar University has added an online Master of Education in School Counseling – this online program has a total tuition cost for out of state of $8,460. They also have Bachelor’s of Applied Arts and Sciences, Criminal Justice and General studies – 100% online and with maximum transcript credit for military transcripts.

Over 1,000 Veterans, active duty and spouses have used the Personal Finance Bootcamp from New England College of Business and Finance – this FREE online course helps people take charge of their personal finances – AND they can see if online learning or a business degree is right for them. Spread the word:

American University System partner schools are ALL Regionally Accredited and most are state schools. Come see us at CCME and learn more about how we can help your students. And please include us in your next Education Fair.


20% of American Students Not Smart Enough for Military

A new report from Education Trust say that 1 on 5 high school students cannot score high enough to enlist in the armed forces.  The Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Batter (ASVAB) consist of math and reading section amounting to one score.  There are subsections on science and problem solving skills.  In our more modern military, these skills are an absolute necessity. 
  • 16% of white applicants were ineligible
  • 29% of Hispanic test taker were ineligible
  • 39% of African-American students are ineligible
The military can be the gateway to higher education for many students.  But if our schools can't get them ready to even enter the military it is truly a dismal failure and dooms these students to be forever left behind.


Ex-Marine makes amazing Principal

Great story by Karin Chenoweth from The Education Trust on Huffington Post about an amazing elementary school in Albuquerque, New Mexico.  New Mexico schools have been getting hit a little for their low performance but right in the middle of the city is a great story.  The big difference in the school is the principal who is a former Marine pilot.  One of the great reasons to make sure that Troops to Teachers continues!

From the blog post:

The overall atmosphere of the school is clearly set by the man who has been its principal for the past nine years, Tom Graham. Graham's first career was as a Marine attack-jet fighter pilot. After his 20 years in the military, he decided to go into education, and -- after teaching for a few years -- became a principal.
At the risk of over-stereotyping, there are two kinds of ex-Marines, in my experience: drill-sergeant types, very precise and sometimes a bit overbearing; and unflappable types who exude an amused attitude of there's-not-a-lot-you-can-do-to-me-that-others-haven't-already-tried. Tom Graham falls into the latter category, which means he couples a cheerful awareness of the messiness that surrounds kids' lives with an unwillingness to let that messiness derail an education.

"We keep you safe, make you warm or cool, and give you a meal; then you have to learn," Graham said. "I'm sorry if your mom's in jail, but this is your escape route. You're as good as anybody when you're here."

He has set a very simple expectation, embodied in the school motto: "Do the right thing at the right time." Although easy to memorize, it isn't easy to do -- Graham admits that, even for him, it isn't always easy -- but kids understand it and aspire to it, and so do teachers and staff.

WOW - for all you troops who became teachers and are ready for your leadership role, make sure you take a look at American College of Education programs in Education Leadership.

The result is a school where everyone is learning just about all the time and where children - no matter what their background -- have a fair shot at taking advantage of the opportunities that lie ahead of them.


NECB extends MyCAA Degree Program

Boston, MA (January 18, 2011) - New England College of Business has announced that they will continue offering a drastic reduction in tuition on Associate's Degrees in Business Administration for all spouses of active duty service members. The discount will bring the entire tuition cost of the Associate's Degree to $4,000. Under the new military spouse scholarship guidelines, MyCAA benefits can cover 100% of the tuition cost.

The original MyCAA program, which provides education funding for spouses of active duty Department of Defense service members, started in 2009 with 136,000 applications and over 98,000 spouses received funding. On October 25, 2010, the ‘new’ MyCAA program began accepting applicants. The new guidelines are much more restrictive, limiting the program to Associate degrees and certificates. The amount of the funding has also been reduced from $6,000 down to $4,000 and limited to spouses of military members who are E1-E5, W1-W2 and O1-O2.

New England College of Business and Finance responded to the new restrictions by offering a program to all spouses that would open the opportunity to earn an Associate’s degree for no out-of-pocket tuition expense. The program was targeted to end in January but due to the positive response and New England College of Business’s commitment to the military community, it has been extended until May 26, 2011. This extension will provide many more spouses time to get their program approved for MyCAA funding.

Courses offered through New England College of Business are 100% online, incorporating a state of the art learning technology platform which allows students to learn any time and from any place. Military spouses are a part of a learning community working on their degrees and forming new connections and friendships. With high retention rates and a commitment to quality and affordability, NECB, a Yellow Ribbon and Military Friendly college, is the growing choice for military members and their families stationed around the globe.

Emily Knight, who directs this outreach program for NECB, shared her personal connection to the education needs of military spouses. "As a child, I watched my mother try to earn her graduate degree while caring for my brother and me during my father’s long deployments on a submarine. Online learning wasn't available and there were no programs to help military families pay for their education. I firmly believe that military spouses need our support and it's our obligation to help them achieve their education goals."

Spouses wishing to apply for their degree through this program can do so online at or call 800.997.1673. Students must register and be enrolled by May 26, 2011 and are required to finish their program in 36 months.


Davis-Monthan AFB Education Fair TOMORROW

The Davis-Monthan Air Force Base Education Fair is tomorrow, January 20th from 1000 to 1400.  Don't miss a great chance to find out about great educational programs to help you achieve your education goals.

Our man Matt Dailey will be there to answer all your GI Bill, Air Force Tuition Assistance, MyCAA and Air Force / CCAF transcript review questions.

Take advantage of this great opportunity and we will see you at Davis-Monthan!

Keesler AFB Education Fair TODAY

If you are stationed at Keesler come on down today for the base education fair from 1000 to 1500 at the base hospital.  Should be a great event and the perfect time to learn more about earning your degree through our quality online programs! 

Say hi to Tim Arrington - our military expert today. 


Take control of your personal finances

And determine if online learning is right for you as you pursue your business degree.  New England College of Business and Finance has a free Financial Literacy Bootcamp - designed to help you take charge of your finances. Go to

This is a great program and it is actually FREE.  We are not selling anything - we just hope that once you try the finance workshop, you will determine that:
  1. Your really like business and want to make it a career
  2. You really like the online learning platform from NECB
  3. You really like the business classes
  4. So you will eventually enroll in the NECB business degree program
If not, we are just glad we helped you with your financial situation.  So give it a try! 


National Guard to become part of GoArmyEd

Must say that I continue to be impressed with the military education machineGoArmyEd is a pretty great system for Army Tuition Assistance.  Guess the National Guard agrees since they will be using it for National Guard Tuition assistance in 2011. 

Below is the email I received yesterday announcing the change:

"Effective June 2011, Army Continuing Education Services (ACES) will welcome United States Army National Guard (ARNG) Soldiers as they transition to GoArmyEd, the Army's Virtual Gateway to Education-Anytime, Anywhere.

GoArmyEd currently supports Active Duty and Army Reserve as a one-stop Web site that allows Soldiers, Army Education Counselors, and schools to conduct business for all education needs in a seamless Soldier-centric environment.

Guard Soldiers will be able to register for college courses or on-duty classes and review their student records 24X7. GoArmyEd links directly with schools to allow the Army to pay schools upfront, lifting that burden from Soldiers and ensuring that schools are paid in a timely and efficient manner. GoArmyEd enforces Army tuition assistance (TA) policy via logic throughout the portal, ensuring that registered classes are found on the Soldier's degree plan, that no duplicate courses are taken, and that the Soldier maintains a GPA standard required by the Army to be eligible for TA. GoArmyEd also standardizes services at all Education Centers and supports the Army's mobile Soldier base. Ready access to Soldier information allows counselors to help Soldiers wherever they are deployed.

Key Dates to Remember
  • 4 June 2011-Schools with historical ARNG enrollments set-up in GoArmyEd; ARNG Soldiers begin setting up accounts in GoArmyEd; after completing their account set-ups, ARNG Soldiers will be restricted from requesting TA in GoArmyEd until 1 August 2011.
  • 1 August 2011-ARNG Soldiers begin requesting TA in GoArmyEd for courses that start on or after 1 October 2011. ARNG Soldiers will continue to use the current National Guard system to request courses that start prior to 1 October 2011.
  • 1 October 2011-All ARNG Soldiers and Army education personnel begin using GoArmyEd to manage TA for courses that start on or after 1 October 2011; schools using GoArmyEd receive TA requests, process grades, and submit invoices for courses that start on or after 1 October 2011; the current National Guard system is used only for grade reporting, invoicing, and recoupment processing for courses that started prior to 1 October 2011.

Will make a little easier for everyone.  Nice job National Guard and congrats to the GoArmyEd team for creating a great education portal.


Only 18,000 spouses use 'New MyCAA'

For those that were around for the disaster that was 'New Coke', 'New MyCAA' seems to have a similar bad taste.  The new MyCAA regulations that went into effect in October specifically limited the number of people who could use this program. 

During old MyCAA, 136,000 spouses signed up and 98,000 used the program in the first six months
Since new MyCAA started, only 18,000 spouses have signed up.

Now, the total military active duty population is 2.3 million according to the Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges and according to Military Spouse magazine, approximately 47% are married which means there are 1.1 million military spouses.

So the New MyCAA is reaching 1.6% of the spouse population.  Underwhelming to say the least.

Now part of the problem seems to be that spouses don't know about it.  Also, there may not be many schools like New England College of Business and Finance (NECB) offering a special MyCAA program for ALL military spouses. So we need your help - we need to get more spouses taking advantage of these education dollars to increase the earning power of our military families! 


Texas A&M Goes Big Online for Military

Our newest member at American University System is Texas A&M Commerce!  American University System partners with colleges and universities to bring their programs online through our state-of-the-art learning management system at significantly reduced costs to the student. 

A&M is offering an Executive MBA online with 36 hours at $30,000 - but military members receive an automatic $5,000 scholarship!! They also offer an online Bachelor of Science in Business Administration for $13,459.

Two great programs from a great university - now fully online with no residency requirement.  We have our people ready to help you with your GI Bill or Tuition Assistance to make sure you can take full advantage of these programs. 


Veteran Unemployment Rate - too high

Marine Corps Times has an article about Veteran unemployment and the rate for young veterans is way too high at 11.8% for men and 10.9% for women.  This a full 2 percentage points above the national unemployment rate of 9.8%.

For all Veterans, the unemployment rate is actually only 8.3% which isn't bad in this economy.

We need to help young Veterans get ready to leave the service with a solid education from a reputable schools so that they can get a great job.  They have sacrificed so much to defend this country - this country needs to take care of them when they are done.


The new, new Post 9/11 GI Bill

The VA GI Bill website has all the changes and the dates that they will happen - and had it up the day after the President signed GI Bill 2.0 - here is the VA LINK and the content below: 

"The Post-9/11 Veterans Education Assistance Improvements Act of 2010 was recently signed into law. This page lists changes to the GI Bill made by this law.

Effective August 1, 2009, but not payable until October 1, 2011
  • Certain National Guard members mobilized on Title 32 orders on-or-after September 11, 2001 are now eligible for the Post-9/11 GI Bill and any qualifying Title 32 mobilization may be used to increase your percentage of eligibility
Effective August 1, 2011
  • The Post-9/11 GI Bill will now pay all public school tuition and fees; this includes graduate training, etc.
  • For students attending private institutions of higher learning or foreign schools, the tuition and fee reimbursement is capped at the lesser of net out-of-pocket cost or $17,500 annually - however the Yellow Ribbon Program still exists
  • College fund payments will now be paid on a monthly basis instead of a lump-sum at the beginning of the term. Those training at ½ time or less are now eligible for college fund payments
  • Reimbursement is now available for multiple Licensing and Certification Tests
  • Reimbursement is now available for fees paid to take national examinations used for admission to an institution of higher learning (e.g. SAT, LSAT, ACT, GMAT, etc)
  • Vocational Rehabilitation participants may now elect the higher housing allowance offered by the Post-9/11 GI Bill if otherwise eligible for the Post-9/11 GI Bill
  • Break or interval pay is no longer payable under any VA education benefit program unless under an Executive Order of the President or due to an emergency situation such as a natural disaster or strike. Entitlement which previously would have been used for break pay will be available for use during a future enrollment. This means that if your semester ends December 15 your housing allowance is paid for the first 15 days of December only. Your benefits will begin again when your new semester begins (e.g. January 15) and you will be paid for the remaining days of that month and term. Students using other VA education programs are included in this change. Monthly benefits will be prorated in the same manner.
  • NOAA and PHS personnel are now eligible to transfer their entitlement to eligible dependents
Effective October 1, 2011
  • If you are training at greater than ½ time your housing allowance is now prorated according to the training time you are enrolled in, i.e. full housing allowance for you is $1000, you are attending ¾ time - your housing allowance would be $750 (¾ of $1000)
  • Housing allowance is now payable to students enrolled solely in distance learning, the housing allowance is ½ the national average BAH for an E-5 with dependents (the rate would be $673.50 for 2011)
  • Non-college degree programs, on-the-job training, and flight training programs are now covered under the Post-9/11 GI Bill
  • The book stipend is now payable to active duty members"
Much more defined now that VA is ready to implement the changes to the program.  Some great stuff.


President Signs GI Bill 2.0

President Obama made it official and signed S. 3447 into law yesterday!  This is a huge deal starting in August 2011 for all who serve. 

From the IAVA Site:
  • Raising monthly vocational rehabilitation benefits by nearly $800/month for over 21,000 disabled vets.
  • Simplifying the confusing tuition cap system and increasing the benefit rate in 45 states increasing the benefit to over 58,000 students
  • Grants full-time distance learners, a monthly living –allowance, including disabled veterans, single parents who provide at-home childcare, and rural veterans helping over 25,000 students
  • Authorizes generous New GI Bill vocational training benefits for apprenticeship and on-the-job training.
  • Approves benefits for students studying at trade schools like a fire academy, truck driving school or a barber college.
  • Includes full-time service in the National Guard as qualifying service toward New GI Bill eligibility which will help over 85,000 previously excluded National Guardsmen.
  • Grants active duty servicemembers using their GI Bill benefits an annual book stipend of $1,000/year.
  • Saves new enlistees to the military $1,200 by not requiring them to sign-up for the old and inadequate GI Bill. 
  • Includes a provision that will protect student veterans from predatory for-profit schools. The New GI Bill changes that and gives the VA the authority to protect veterans from those schools.
Congrats to all Veterans who helped lobby for these great changes and to Congress for bi-partisan support of our military!!


From Subway to Medal of Honor

If you haven't seen the video interview of SSGT Salvatore Giunta who was recently awarded the Medal of Honor - it is a great reminder of how great our voluntary military really is.

If you made a New Years resolution to be better - here is some inspiration.