Thank you for Serving


Military Homeschool: Classes to fit your budget

There is a tremendous new resource for military families that home school - and we know that there are over 640,000 military children who are home schooled - called VirtualEDU.  VirtualEDU offers more than 200 accredited middle and high school courses for a subscription rate of just $49.95 per month. 

This is a pretty incredible rate for some amazing online classes.  So if you are a military family that is home schooling, please take a look at this.  You can take unlimited classes for just a low monthly rate as opposed to paying thousands of dollars for each class up front. 

Finally there is an online school that really cares about military families who home school - VirtualEDU.


WARNING: Military Ed Benefits, use 'em or lose 'em

Budget Cuts - they are here to stay.  Ask any E-7 spouse who waited to use her MyCAA education benefits if waiting was a good idea and you will get a resounding NO.  He who hesitates is lost -

Back when MyCAA relaunched, DoD had this stark warning to the much fewer spouses who qualified:
  • Will the program be cut in the future?   Not in FY 2011. However, in coming years, with a reduced defense budget a reality, every program will be closely scrutinized for its contribution to military family readiness
Then came the stark warnings from Carolyn Baker at the Council of College and Military Educators that both Tuition Assistance and the new GI Bill were "unsustainable" at current levels of participation. 

From the Paycheck Chronicles blog
"With the financial instability in our world today, it is foolish to assume that the military’s educational benefits will remain the same. Please do what you can to utilize those benefits now, and prepare yourself for the possibility that they might not be available in the future."

I can't be any clearer than this.  The signs are everywhere that our current spending is not sustainable and there will be cuts.  That means that GI Bill and Tuition Assistance will be cut in the future.  If you don't get started, you might miss out.

Fear the cuts:  Education Benefits - use 'em or lose 'em.


Missouri Veterans Sue Over Education Benefits

From the Chronicle of Higher Education:

"A group of veterans has sued four public colleges in Missouri, alleging that they have violated the Missouri Returning Heroes’ Education Act, a law that caps tuition at $50 per credit hour for combat veterans who have served since 2001. The cap comes into play once all other federal and state aid is applied to tuition, according to the Columbia Daily Tribune. The veterans, who seek class-action status for the lawsuit, say the benefit should apply to the entire cost of college, not just tuition. The law “damages Missouri combat veterans” because it doesn’t consider the cost of room and board, transportation, books, and other expenses, according to the lawsuit, which challenges the University of Missouri at Columbia, the University of Missouri at St. Louis, Moberly Area Community College, and Southeast Missouri State University. A university official said the four campuses use a procedure recommended by the state’s department of higher education."

Come on Missouri schools - let's take care of Vets


Tuition Assistance - are the cuts coming?

With all the talk about budget cuts, it is not surprising that many at the CCME conference last week were concerned about what is going to happen to Tuition Assistance.  Carolyn Baker told us the facts:
  • 2010 spending on TA: $542 million
  • 2009 spending on TA: $518 million
Now that is only a 4.6% increase in Military Tuition Assistance spending - but in a time where the Congress is trying to cut $100 billion out of the budget, things are tense.  The only exception is the Coast Guard (not DoD which is a good thing here) which announced they will not cut TA next year.

There are so many other places that the military could cut and the current high tech military needs a highly educated work force to be effective.  Until the budgets are done, all in military education are worried.


Army Accelerates Associates Degree

The Army is working on retention and training and will ensure that soldiers will receive college credits for Army training and education.  This will allow soldiers to receive their associates degree in their first enlistment starting this year!

Following the very successful CCAF program for the Air Force, the Army training and education will be worth up to 45 credits towards an associates degree.   Most degree programs require 60 so soldiers will have to work on the final 5 classes - but they will get 75 points towards promotion when they do.

Great news for all soldiers entering the military today and a solid way to recruit and retain more great service members.


VA has 6 ways to max our your ed benefits

Great blog post over at VAntage Point which is the blog for the Department of Veteran Affairs on 6 ways to maximize your education benefits. Here is a brief run down:
  1. Ask How, What and Where - these are critical questions and need lots of thought. I see too many students wandering around schools, majors and wasting a lot of time and money 'finding' themselves and they only find themselves without a degree
    1. How do you want to study
    2. What are you going to major in
    3. Where will you study
  2. The GI Bill as an Investment - you want it to last and eliminate out of pocket by managing that investment
  3. Anticipate the Unpredictable Job Landscape - and be specific.  Healthcare is growing - but only certain professions.  Do your research and get a major that will help you transition out of the military
  4. Trust but verify - schools can be aggressive - make sure it is Regional Accredited (not national) - look at ratings, BBB and others to make sure they are legit and going to help you with your goals
  5. Beware of Questionable Research Aids - go to the legit GI Bill site and not all the marketing sites to get the real info
  6. Reintegration is the key - college can be a great method of reintegration but is also a big challenge so make sure you are ready and you have the support you need to succeed
The final thought is to do what is best for you.  This is all great advice and you should be careful as you choose the education path that is right for you.


VA suspends universities from GI Bill

From the wires on eNews Park Forest:
"February 14, 2011. U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) today asked the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for a list of colleges and universities from which it has suspended or withdrawn GI Bill and education benefits after discovering questionable recruiting practices used by these institutions. In a response to a December 2010 letter from Durbin, VA Secretary Eric Shinseki explained that the VA had taken these measures after compiling information about erroneous, deceptive or misleading practices at these colleges and universities. "

Congrats to the VA for taking charge and protecting Veterans from predatory universities!


Tuition Assistance and New Rules

The first issue that came to light here at CCME is the new guidelines for Military Tuition Assistance.  The rule will require that programs be approved in the state where the student resides.  So if an online program from Lamar has a student in Florida, Lamar has to be approved in Florida for Tuition Assistance to pay. 

That's fine for the big guys, but Lamar doesn't have the money or the time to apply to every single state - so it might leave only the big guys (like Phoenix which has campuses in most states) to get bigger.  Don't think that was the intent of the new rules, so we can only hope that sanity reigns supreme by the summer.


National Salute to Veteran Patients

This year's National Salute to Veteran Patients will take place February 13-19, 2011. Getting involved is easy! You can find all the information you need to deliver a valentine or get additional volunteer information at VA's Volunteer Service webpage From this site, you can generate an e-mail to your local VA Volunteer Service and find out if they can use valentines or other items.


Snows Causes VA GI Bill Processing DELAYS

FROM THE VA SITE!!  Not good.

Information Related to Delayed Processing of Spring 2011 Enrollments
February 8, 2011 03:00 PM

We would like to make you aware that VA’s offices responsible for processing Education benefits payments have been closed several days during January due to inclement weather. We are working hard to get caught up including working mandatory overtime on Saturdays and Sundays. We expect to have the situation under control within the next week to ten days. We are very concerned about the difficulties this can cause if you have not yet received your February 1 check and we are working hard to get you paid.

Until your February 1 payment is received, we have created a letter you may wish to show creditors. That letter may be found below.

View the letter here.

Severe Winter Weather Causes Claims Processing Delays
February 8, 2011 02:35 PM

Severe winter weather across much of the nation has caused unexpected delays in processing payments for Spring 2011 enrollments. We are implementing many stopgap procedures to bring the workload down, including temporary staff reassignments, mandatory overtime, and tiger teams. Rest assured we are doing our best to get your benefits to you as soon as possible.


Medal of Honor winner to use his GI Bill

Medal of Honor recipient Staff Sgt. Sal Giunta is going back to school with the GI Bill and will leave the Army in June of this year according to MilitaryTimes article.  He has handled his fame with "humility and reluctance" and in my humble opinion has done an amazing job.  He really does show all that is great about this country and the military.

And now he is going to get his degree using the GI Bill!  A perfect next step for someone who has a great future. 


VA Education Benefits - improved automation

The VA announced that it has successfully deployed a new automated system to improve speed and accuracy in processing Veteran's educational benefits under Post 9/11 GI Bill. 

From the VA Press Release:

 The technology relies upon information from Veterans and specialized rules-based software to streamline the process for calculating Veterans’ benefits.

“The new GI Bill is the first example of VA’s use of an agile approach to software development,” said Roger W. Baker, VA’s assistant secretary for information and technology. “Our success on this project is already being leveraged to ensure the success of other large software projects within VA.”

This is great news for all Veterans using their education benefits and when the new GI Bill 2.0 rules start this summer, it will provide a great education funding system for our military. 


CCME - next week

American University System will be attending our first Council of College and Military Educators conference in Tampa on February 14th.  We will have a booth there and look forward to seeing military education speciliasts to help more Service members, Vetereans, spouses and their familiy members reach their education goals.

Come by our booth and say hi!!


Military Spouse Scholarship Program Includes U.S. Coast Guard Spouses

New England College of Business and Finance (NECB) military spouse scholarship program provides educational opportunities for active duty Coast Guard spouses.

Boston, MA (February 1, 2011) - New England College of Business has announced that they will offer a drastic reduction in tuition on Associate's Degrees in Business Administration for all spouses of U.S. Coast Guard active duty service members. The discount will bring the entire tuition cost of the Associate's Degree to $4,000. The significant reduction in tuition was initially offered to target Department of Defense (DoD) spouses participating in the DoD MyCAA program. This program was targeted to end in January but due to the positive response, it has been extended until May 26, 2011.

NECB is committed to the military community and felt that it was only proper to offer the tuition discount to spouses in all of the armed forces, not simply the military branches of service within the Department of Defense. The Coast Guard is part of the Department of Homeland Security. Despite not being able to participate directly in the MyCAA program, NECB hopes this scholarship will attract active duty Coast Guard spouses looking to further their education.

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. 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 this program. “I grew up the daughter of Navy Master Chief who rode submarines and my spouse is a U.S. Coast Guard veteran. Being a military spouse is a tremendously challenging job. I know first-hand the challenges of long deployments, un-accompanied tours, and the stressful nature of the assignment season. Pursuing or finishing a degree under these circumstances can be a real challenge especially if you relocate frequently. For over 100 years NECB has been educating working adults. Our online format is ideal for the Coast Guard spouse needing flexibility and desiring a business degree. I firmly believe that all military spouses need our support and it's our obligation to help them achieve their education goals."

Active duty Coast Guard spouses (regardless of rank) 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. Submission of a photocopy of your USCG dependent ID card will be required at time of enrollment.

About New England College of Business and Finance

Founded in 1909, New England College of Business and Finance (NECB) is a leading Boston institution offering quality education and online degrees at the undergraduate and graduate levels. NECB empowers students with skills and expert knowledge taught by seasoned business leaders and research faculty, using state-of-the-art online courses. Serving students across the United States, NECB is an online college accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC), and is licensed by the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education. Online enrollments in the U.S. are growing at rates far in excess of the total higher education student population, with no signs of slowing, according to a recent national report by the Babson Survey Research Group. For information or to enroll in NECB, visit or call 1-800-997-1673.