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Mon April 4, 2011
Dr. Jason Scorza, Fairleigh Dickinson University - Student Veterans
Albany, NY – In today's Academic Minute, Dr. Jason Scorza of Fairleigh Dickinson University explains the unique challenges faced by today's veterans as they enter colleges and universities.
Jason Scorza is an associate professor of philosophy and political science at Fairleigh Dickinson University where his research interests include political courage, civic virtue, civic education, civil rights, and literature and politics. He holds a Ph.D. from Princeton University and in 2007 published Strong Liberalism: Habits of Mind for Democratic Citizenship.
Dr. Jason Scorza - Student Veterans
Today's student-veterans represent a more diverse group than those of any previous generation. They include many women who have been directly involved in combat, vets with previous college experience, vets with service-related learning challenges, and vets who have performed under repeatedly extended deployments.
Unlike the Vietnam War era, when veterans attending American universities could expect to encounter indifference, suspicion or even hostility, students who have served in the ongoing conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan are likely to be met by warmth, curiosity and respect on campus.
However, like their predecessors, today's student-veterans confront mountains of red tape and confusing and changing regulations, making the process of obtaining and applying well-earned educational benefits difficult at best.
With more than a quarter-million veterans already enrolled under the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill, it is imperative for colleges and universities to be part of the solution.
Ideally, every campus would have on staff a dedicated professional with recent military experience, who can help with educational benefits and refer vets to other campus offices as needed.
Every institution should appoint a veterans education advisory board that includes faculty, students, and representatives from critical administrative offices.
Institutions also can work closely with local and state networks and through national organizations like the American Council on Education, which are dedicated to helping campuses better serve veterans.
At the end of the day, everyone in higher education must take the time to understand the unique needs of veteran students. It is the best way for us to honor their service - and it is the right thing to do.