Category Archives: > G I Bill, Veterans Issues

Information that may be of use to veterans, especially for educational info

+ Send a Gift to a Soldier Via USO Wishbook

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How to Buy a Gift

The USO Wishbook is an alternative giving catalog. 

The gifts you purchase from the USO Wishbook allow you to recognize holidays and special occasions — in addition to directly benefiting troops and their families.

  1. Choose your gift.  Pick a gift for any occasion — birthdays, weddings or holidays.  
  2. Purchase your gift.  Once you have purchased your gift, the USO will ensure that your gift goes to help lift the spirits of America’s troops and their families.
  3. Send an eCard.  After you make your purchase, you can send an eCard to gift recipients with a personalized message.  
  4. Visit

About the USO:

Throughout our country’s history Americans have felt profound appreciation and gratitude for the dedication and sacrifice of our troops and their families.  The USO provides a tangible way for all of us to say thank you, as it has for 70 years.

Thanks to the generosity of ordinary — and extraordinary — Americans the USO fulfills its mission of lifting the spirits of America’s troops and their families.  Through the USO you touch their lives through an extensive range of programs at more than 160 locations in 27 states and 14 countries, and at hundreds of entertainment events each year.

Thousands of USO volunteers do everything possible to provide a home away from home for our troops and to keep them connected to the families they left behind.

The USO makes sure your help goes to those who need it most:

  • troops serving in combat
  • their families
  • our wounded warriors and their families
  • families of the fallen

As a nonprofit, non-political organization, the USO is now, and always will be, about our troops.  Wherever and whenever they go, the USO will be there, until every one comes home.

Orton-Gillingham tutoring in Columbus OH:  Adrienne Edwards  614-579-6021 or email

+ Distance Learning: Excellent Resource Site

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Katie Wilson tells me about her Web site: Distance Learning Net at

The site informs us they have information to help you navigate your way through the internet options available for distance learners in today’s fast-paced academic world.

From the site:

Whether you are looking to obtain an accelerated degree through an online school or take classes part time to improve your career prospects, we can help you get started and make the most of your online education.

We can help you decide if distance learning is the best option for you and also make sure that your school is accredited. 

Use our degree finder to find the school that is the best match for you and browse theough our FAQs to find answers to some of the most common questions that new distance learners have.

Take a look at our blog for helpful tips and tricks to get ahead and make the most of your distance learning experiences.

The site then offers links to Kaplan UniveristyUniversity of Phoenix, Grand Canyon University, Liberty University, Capella University, Westwood College, American InterContinental University, Virginia College, Everest UniversityAshford University  — and more .

Topics include:

  • Advantages and disadvantages of distance learning,
  • How to get an accredited distance learning degree online,
  • How to get your distance learning MBA,
  • The history of distance learning,
  • About distance learning,
  • Who benefits from distance learning
  • — and more.

You can search online degrees by choosing a degree level, or a category or a subject.  There is a quick degree finder.

The blog is great ( .  Among the topics:

  • 5 tips to assist in second language learning;
  • The role of sports in furthering education
  • Top 100 Science Fiction Blogs (general, books and comics, TV, movies, reviews, news)
  • 50+ Free Open Courseware classes for Web designers perfecting their craft (general, design & visualization fundamentals, education, usability, tools and technologies, internet, legal)
  • 50 tools and tricks to revolutionize your notetaking (bookmarks and more, productivity tools, collaboration, organization and efficiency tips, accessories, large scale projects and tools, notebooks, multimedia and multitasking tools)
  • Top 100 Musicology blogs (musicology, academics and education, technology, music history, music present and future, music industry, musicians, classical, concert, opera & orchestra, culture, musical analysis)

Wow.  Check it all out.

Thank you, Katie Wilson, for sharing this information.

tutoring in Columbus OH:   Adrienne Edwards  614-579-6021   or email

+ US News Blog: 5 Tips for Getting Into Law School

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Associate Dean of Admissions at Yale Law School Asha Rangappa, was invited by “Professors’ Guide” bloggers at US News & World Report to offer suggestions for those who are considering entering law school some day.

  1. Major in Something You Enjoy.  You don’t have to major in “pre-law” or English or political science, says Rangappa. Major in something you’ll enjoy; you’ll probably do well in it.  But if you do decide to major in something off the liberal arts path, she suggests you make sure to take a “smattering of courses in fields such as economics, history, politics, sociology, and philosophy, as the language of these disciplines will reappear throughout your legal education.”
  2. Read, Read, Read.  Going to law school means spending three years reading a lot.  The best way to prepare is to cultivate a habit of reading — in class and out — and reading closely.  Because in the law, every word matters.  “If you don’t like reading, you won’t like being a lawyer.”
  3. Write, Write, Write.  In addition to reading,  lawyers write a lot. While you’re in college, take advantage of opportunities to improve your writing skills.  Take courses that have paper requirements or the writing of a senior thesis.  Becoming confident in your writing ability, being able to express yourself clearly and concisely, will go a long way in your career (not to mention your law school application).
  4. Get to Know Your Professors.  Recommendations from your professors are one of the most important parts of that law school application.  Professors who know you personally write the best recommendations: they’ve had a chance to personally evaluate your work, your writing and your participation in class.  Take smaller classes or seminars where you can work closely with the professor; take advantage of office hours to ask questions or get feedback.  It means you’ll have to work harder, but a glowing recommendation is worth it.
  5. Stay Out of Trouble.  Don’t throw a kegger in your dorm room.  Law schools will ask about your “character and fitness” to practice law.  You’ll have to disclose any academic or criminal disciplinary incident you’ve been involved in.  Even if you make it into law school, these disclosures are forwarded to the bar committee of the state where you intend to practice: they could keep you from being admitted to the bar.

sole source: Professors’ Guide blog by Lynn F Jacobs and Jeremy S Hyman on 2/4/09: guest blogger is Asha Rangappa.  Visit the site for good tips.  

+ The Legacy of Senator Pell

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In an editorial in the NY Times, we are reminded of Senator Claiborne Pell’s vision.  Pell died last week at the age of 90.

He was best known as the father of Pell Grants, a program established in 1975, which gives aid to low-income college students. 

Called the “Basic Educational Opportunity Grants” until 1980, the  Pell Grants were once deemed revolutionary and strongly opposed.

Maura J Casey, who wrote the editorial, was a freshman in 1975, the first year needy undergraduates were eligible to receive the assistance. 

Coming from a family which was severely strapped for money (a mother with heart problems who was living on alimony and a tiny veteran’s pension) she qualified for close to the maximum annual grant of $1400.  It seemed miraculous. 

But for Senator Pell’s stubbornness, passage of the bill would have required a miracle.

These days, colleges and universities are strong supporters of Pell Grants.  But in the early 1970’s they resisted the notion that money should go directly to students, as Mr Pell insisted.  They wanted the money to be a form of institutional aid, which they would disburse to students as they saw fit.

While the Senate passed Mr Pell’s bill, the House backed the colleges’ preferred version, and for two months in the summer of 1972, the conference committee haggled.

Although Pell was a wealthy New England aristocrat, he never wavered in his belief that the program should help poor students directly, as the postwar GI Bill did.  And finally, the committee came around, and Congress passed the bill.

A friend remembers that Pell was so modest that for years after the program was named for him, he refused to call them “Pell Grants.”  He just believed that poor students — if they had the will to attend college —  deserved the backup.

Writes Casey, the program is far from perfect; the aid hasn’t kept up with the cost of a college education.  So it doesn’t help as much now as it did back then.

But in more than three decades, the federal government has sent more than 108 million grants, about $250 billion, to needy students, according to the American Council on Education.

They have helped many, many students begin a journey toward the fulfillment of their dreams. 

sole source: Maura J Casey’s editorial piece in the NY Times on 1/6/09.

tutoring in Columbus OH:   Adrienne Edwards   614-579-6021   or email

+ Survival Guide for Veterans

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An editorial in the NY Times suggests that “The American Veterans’ and Servicemembers’ Survival Guide” is a promising help for dealing with veterans’ issues.

A 599-page guide to a whole spectrum of concerns, the book is a publication of the nonprofit advocacy group Veterans for America.  It is available as a free download at

The book is a descendant of “The Viet Vet Survival Guide,” which was published a decade after that conflict, when veterans were still being routinely frustrated in finding the help they deserved.  It comes — unsurprisingly, says the Times — from outside the system.  

The new book was written by veterans and lawyers for a new generation of soldiers with old problems like PTSD and new ones like traumatic brain injury, the brutal legacy of Iraq’s and Afghanistans’s roadside bombs.

The authors caution that while this guide will help a veteran understand what’s going on, it is not a substitute for a good lawyer or other advocate.

Also: it’s not the only source of information.  The government, too, has vast web sites explaining things — for example how certain officers help veterans through the disability evaluation system.  [To put that last sentence into bureaucrat language: how the Physical Evaluation Board Liaison Officer, or Peblo, helps with the D.E.S.]

The independent Survival Guide explains all that, too,  but with a caveat.  It warns veterans to “pay careful attention to what you say to your Peblo,” because the Peblo is not required to act in your best interests the way your attorney is.  Things told to a Peblo are not necessarily confidential.

For such information, and more, check out the Survival Guide.

sole source: NY Times Editorial piece on 12/19/08.

tutoring in Columbus OH:   Adrienne Edwards   614-579-6021 or email

+ Beyond the GI Bill: Sites and Suggestions for Military and Veterans

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From a list in a New York Times article by Cecilia Capuzzi Simon:


  • For the Disabled — Veterans given at least 10 percent disability rating from the Department of Veterans Affairs are eligible for a program with greater benefits than the GI Bill.  To qualify, veterans must demonstrate that their injuries prevent them from doing jobs they previously would have gotten.  The program, rooted in WWI and part of the Vocational Rehabilitation and Employments Service ( entitles them to learn new skills or go to college.  It pays tuition, private or public, plus an allowance of $500 to $800 a month.  Veterans also receive help with tutoring, employment and various other extras.  There are 97,000 veterans enrolled in the program; more than 20 percent of them fought in Iraq and Afghanistan.
  • Paying for Privates — Under the new GI Bill, veterans can apply the cost of the most expensive in-state public college to a costlier private university.  But that leaves thousands of dollars in unpaid tuition.  The Department of Veterans Affairs is hammering out the details of the Yellow Ribbon GI Education Enhancement Program.  Under the program, the Government will match dollar for dollar whatever a college provides, up to half the difference between cost and GI Bill benefit.  Institutions will have to sign up, and only veterans with at least three years service will be eligible.
  • Tuition Discounts — Whether for patriotic or marketing reasons — most likely both — many private institutions have come to the aid of servicemen and women.  Pace University in New York cuts tuition by half for post-9/11  veterans enrolled in undergraduate and graduate programs, including online.  At Benedictine University in Lisle, Ill., Iraq and Afghanistan veterans who pursue an associate degree in business administration or a bachelor’s in management pay no tuition.  Online programs in particular draw students from the military.  Kaplan University covers up to $7000 toward its online bachelor’s degree or $3000 toward an associate degree for up to 100 veterans a year.  Florida Tech University Online reduces tuition by 40 percent for active-duty military and 10 percent for veterans.  Grantham University grants 54 full four-year scholarships each year to physically or cognitively disabled National Guardsmen.
  • State Help — Not all veterans must rely on the GI Bill to get to college.  State schools waiving tuition for vets include those in New York, Connectiut, Wisconsin and Illinois.  Ohio charges in-state tuition to vets from elsewhere wishing to enroll in its public colleges and universities.  Most states offer tuition reductions to currently serving members of the National Guard; 27 will waive it entirely.
  • Trade School Scholarships — Vocational training is covered by the new bill only when it takes place at degree-granting colleges and universities.  The Imagine America Foundation Scholarship Program ( which supports career and technical school education, grants a one-time $1000 scholarship to veterans entering any of 300 colleges participating in its Military Award Program.  Its Leadership Award grants up to $5000 to active-duty members of the military or veterans in any accredited career school who meet certain GPA and attendance standards.


  • Entrepreneurship Boot Camp — will take you to a consortium of business schools — at Syracuse, Florida State, Texas A&M, and UCLA — which provides disabled Iraq and Afghanistan veterans practical training and mentoring in developing new ventures and running small businesses.  Candidates are not required to have degrees but are evaluated through letters of recommendation, work achievements in or out of the military and desire to start a company.  This year, 73 enrolled.  The program is free, including travel to one of the four business schools, and meals.
  • American Corporate Partners — Visit for a mentoring program that operates in Atlanta, Chicago, Cincinnati, Dallas, Houston, New York, Philadelphia and Norwalk, Conn.  Iraq and Afghanistan veterans are paired with employees from one of six corporations — Campbell’s, General Electric, Home Depot, Morgan Stanley, Pepsico or Verizon.  These mentors — 50 from each company — meet with proteges four hours a month for a year.  The idea is to smooth their entry to corporate America and help them leverage military skills in a business context.
  • Outward Bound — Outward Bound ( educates through experience.  It wants to build practical skills, confidence, self-reliance and leadership in its participants.  It also tries to teach veterans to establish supportive communities with one another and to ease readjustment to civilian life.  Wilderness expeditions for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans are free, including travel to and from sites in California, Colorado, Maine, Minnesota and Texas.

sole source:  article by Cecilia Capuzzi Simon in the NY Times on 11/2/08.  Also see associated article by Lizette Alvarez “Combat to College.”

reading tutoring in Columbus OH:   Adrienne Edwards   614-579-6021   or email