My Military Child Is Going to College, What About TRICARE?

college tricare

What You Need to Know About TRICARE When Your Military Child Goes to College

Your military child has turned 18 and is headed off to college. Until now, it has never been a question about what type of TRICARE they would need. You have TRICARE Prime, so they do. But when a military child leaves for college, things can change. Here is what you need to know.

Having a child go to college is considered a TRICARE Qualifying Life Event (QLE). A QLE is a change in life such as moving, the birth of a child, or a child going to college. A QLE starts a 90-day period where you can make eligible enrollment changes. You can read more about QLEs on the TRICARE website.

Now that you know that you can change your student’s TRICARE, here are your options.


  • If you are on TRICARE Prime, or the U.S. Family Health Plan (USFHP), your student can use your home address and continue using Prime.
  • If the college they attend is in a location where you can get TRICARE Prime, they can use the college’s address. If there isn’t, the student can switch to TRICARE Select.
  • The pros of staying on Prime are being able to get care from a PCM and being able to save on out-of-pocket medical costs.
  • If you are on TRICARE Select, TRICARE Reserve Select, or TRICARE Retired Reserve, everything can stay the same.
  • If your child is going overseas, they can enroll in TRICARE Select Overseas, but only if they are attending college overseas alone. If they are Command-Sponsored and living with their active-duty sponsor overseas, they may stay eligible for TRICARE Prime Overseas or TRICARE Prime Remote Overseas.
  • If your child is going to a Service Academy, they may be eligible for TRICARE Medical and Dental care.
  • Wherever your child is going to college, make sure to check to see if the school offers its own health care plans. They might and it can be a good option. These can qualify as Other Health Insurance (OHI) and then you would have TRICARE as the secondary payer.

Children Over 21

  • When your child turns 21, they age out of certain TRICARE options. Coverage can be extended until the age of 23 if your child is attending college. They would be able to then stay on your TRICARE until they turn 23, or graduate from college, whatever happens first. In these cases, the sponsor must be providing at least 50% of the child’s financial support while they are in school. You can visit TRICARE’s Children Becoming Adults page for more information.
  • You have 90 days from the time they turn 21 to make the change.
  • Children who are ages 21-26 can switch to TRICARE Young Adult if they are unmarried, or are adult dependent children.

What Should You Be Doing?

Change your child’s status to “student status” within DEERS. You will also need a letter from your child’s school registrar’s office that states that your child is enrolled at full-time status at an accredited college and is working on an associate’s degree or higher degree. You will also need to show that the sponsor is providing more than half of their financial support.

RELATED: Lesser-Known GI Bill Benefits




The Best Dorm Room Shopping Tips For Parents

Your son or daughter graduated from high school in May, you have the whole summer together, and they don’t leave for college until August.

But, there is one thing looming over your head, their dorm room. You need to work with your student to get ready for this big move, and doing so can be pretty overwhelming. Here are some tips for shopping for a dorm room.

Dorm Room Shopping Tips for Parents

What Do They Really Need?

You should get a list from the school of what your student might need. This will go beyond a regular school supplies list and much of it might just be suggestions as opposed to requirements. Go over the list with your college student and ask yourselves what they really need to bring.

Keep in mind that dorm rooms are rather small and there isn’t a lot of space. You can’t bring everything and many items should be left at home. You student probably won’t need as much if they are only going to school a couple hours away vs across the country.

Keep an eye on what the school does not allow in the dorms. As soon as your student knows who their roommate is, have them talk about what they are planning to bring. Your student doesn’t need a dorm room with two mini-fridges. Collaborate so your student doesn’t end up with doubles of some things and a lack of others.

Don’t Bring Furniture

You want to stay away from bringing any furniture unless you know for sure there will be space for it. Many dorm rooms already come with a bed, dresser, desk, and even bookcase. Sometimes they will also have a desktop lamp or other furnishings. There simply won’t be room for furniture from home.

If your student is moving into a less traditional dorm setting, there could be more space for that type of thing. See what the school suggests and make sure to view what the dorm looks like ahead of time, either in person or in pictures. That will give you a better idea of what your student will have room for.

Look For Discounts

Back to school discounts, student discounts, and military discounts are going to be a way to save money when buying items for your child’s dorm room. Places like Overstock, Pottery Barn, Best Buy, JanSport, FedEx, Adobe, and Apple, are great places to start.

RELATED: Student Discounts for Military and Veterans

In addition to discounts, check to see if your state is going to have a tax-free weekend, or if any stores offer free shipping on your orders. Even just saving $7 or 8 each order can help save some money.

AAFES has also announced that they will be offering a discount around the tax-free weekends in certain states. The discount will be based on the local tax rate and available at Army & Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES.)

Most Important Items for the Dorm Room

When it comes to shopping for a dorm, some items are going to be more important than others.


You will want to figure out bedding. Many dorm rooms can have a Twin XL mattress which is about 5 inches longer than a regular twin. If this is the case, you will need to make sure that you have the right size sheets, blankets, and comforters. This is information you can get from the college ahead of time.

You can find bedding using a military discount at Brooklyn Bedding, Kohl’s, and Overstock.

Towels and Bathroom Items

In most cases, your student will have to walk down the hall to a communal bathroom, they won’t have one in their dorm room. This means that they need a way to carry all their toiletries, have shower shoes, and new towels. Some students might also be nervous about all this so it would be a good idea to go over how the bathrooms will work if they are co-ed or not, and what to expect.

You can find towels and bathroom items using a military discount at Costco, Overstock, or find them at your local AAFES store.


Just like the bathroom, doing laundry is going to be different than doing laundry at home. There will probably be a laundry room and your student may or may not need coins to operate the machines. They will also need a way to bring their laundry down and a way to carry their laundry soap.

You can find laundry supplies using a military discount at Kohl’s, Goodwill, or BJ’s Wholesale Club.

School Supplies

When it comes to shopping for a dorm room, it can be easy to forget about actual school supplies. Your student may need a new backpack, certain types of paper and binders, and plenty of pens and pencils. Don’t forget about those traditional school supplies that they will need for the school year.

You can find school supplies using a military discount at Michael’s, Joann, or visit AAFES.

Wait And See

For certain items, waiting to see what your student needs might be a smart choice. While they will want to move into the dorm with the right bedding and toiletries, items used for storage or even the amount of books to bring might be something to figure out after they move in.

While you may have seen the dorm room ahead of time, it might take a week or two of living there to figure out what they really need. Give your child a bit of a budget for the first few weeks so they can add a few things that they realize they need after they have settled in a bit.

Traveling to School

You as a family need to figure out how your student will get to the college and who will go with them. This could be different based on how far away the school is. If possible, having both parents come with can be a good idea. You can get them moved in and settled before you leave. If your child is going to school across the country this might not be possible and you will have to put them on an airplane and say goodbye to them before they leave. Look into military discounts on airlines as well as car rentals to help plan your trip.

When it comes to shopping for a dorm room, being prepared and organized is a must. You want to make sure to bring what you need, and not what you don’t. You want to set your child up for a good year and help them be excited about this next step in their life.





5 Tips to Ensure a Solid Start to Your College Experience

5 Tips to Ensure a Solid Start to Your College Experience

Service members tend to transfer several times throughout their military careers. The military has processes to ensure that your transfer goes as smoothly as possible. No matter where you go in the military you will find people you have much in common with a familiar military culture and structure.

Colleges and universities also have processes to help new students quickly assimilate into the school culture and processes. Schools have orientation days and connect new students with upperclassman to help them learn the ropes. But unlike your PCS experiences, you will quickly realize that you have very little in common with your fellow students and most schools tend to lack structure. But don’t let that slow you down. There are several easy things you can do to help you ease into the world of academia.

The following 5 tips will help you quickly adjust to campus life:

Be sure to attend the orientation events

Pretty much every college or university has an “orientation day.” Don’t blow it off. Although it may seem kind of lame, but the stuff they cover at these events really has value. Most of the time the orientation events are led by upperclassmen who can share the tricks and tips you will need to make the most of the on-campus experience, not to mention the tricks to navigating the campus and school policies.

Find the Veterans Resource Center

Nearly every school has a veteran’s center, one type or another. Most on-campus veterans centers are staffed by veteran education program administrators who are paid by the school to help process your education claims. The veterans center is also a great place to connect with other student veterans.

Join Student Veterans of America

SVA is national organization with local on-campus chapters which are run by your fellow veteran students. There are over 1,300 on-campus chapters, where veterans can find resources to ease their transition to student life. SVA is committed to ensuring you are supported throughout transition through college to employment.

Do Your Own Campus Recon Before School Starts

Cross-campus classes can make it difficult to get from one class to the next on time. Walk the campus, find your classrooms, and plan your routes well before school starts. Knowing the best way to cover the distance in advance will save you from the embarrassment of getting to class late.

Establish Ground Rules with Your Roommate

One of the most common issues students face is getting along with their roommates. Unlike your fellow service members back in the barracks, your new college roommate has likely never been away from home and his or her parent’s house rules. This means that your new roommate is going to be “enjoying” his or her newfound freedom – likely at your expense. Typical roommate conflicts include hygiene, late-night partying, and housekeeping. The best way to address issues before they come up is to have a direct conversation about quiet hours, housekeeping, and privacy expectations.

Better yet, live off campus if possible. With your GI Bill housing stipend (BAH) you can afford a small off-campus apartment – that way you can choose your roommate (if you want) and save money to boot.

These quick five pointers can help you get off to a great start. In the next article we will look at some tips for saving money on textbooks and common school supplies.




13 Great & Useful College Apps for Students

In today’s world there seems to be an app for everything. If you are a student, you can find quite a few apps that will make your life a little easier.  Here are 13 apps for students to help make your college life a little easier.

13 Great Apps For Students


Cited is a great app to have to help you with referencing your papers. You would simply enter your reference information and the app will put it into the correct format. You can use MLA, APA, and Chicago style formats, whatever is required at your school.

or iOS and Android

College Essay Writing Help

This app is an advanced planner that will help you with your tasks. It can help you plan your writing that you need to do for school with an easy-to-use calendar. You can also set up personal notifications so that you do not miss any deadlines.

For iOS


Evernote is an app that can help you manage everything from big projects to personal moments. You can capture ideas and inspiration in notes, voice, and pictures. You can save things you find on the internet and never lose track of tasks and deadlines. The most popular features are the web clipper, multi-device sync, search handwriting, notebooks and tags, document scanning, and PDF and document search.

For iOS and Android

Oxford Dictionary of English

Having a good dictionary at your fingertips is a must when you are in college. The Oxford Dictionary of English is a good one to have. It is widely accepted as one of the highest authorities in the study and reference of the English language globally.

For iOS and Android

Google Docs

Google Docs is one of the websites you can use to write your papers and then save them as Word, a PDF, or other types of documents. They also have an app that is a must to have on your phone. Then you will always have access to your work, wherever you go. If you are working with a team, you can also connect with them, make comments, and edit as need be.

For iOS and Android


Spotify is a great way to listen to music and podcasts. You can easily search for any song or album and can make or share playlists. There are many playlists that others have created for studying. The app has a free version or you can sign up for Spotify Premium with the student version.

You can read up on the Spotify military discount in this article.

For iOS and Android

My Study Life-School Planner

My Study Life-School Planner is a great app for keeping track of everything you need to keep track of as a college student. This app is a cross-platform planner for students and teachers. It is designed to make studying life easier. You can store your classes, homework, and exams in the Cloud so you can pull everything app on every device.

For iOS and Android

Circle of 6

Circle of 6 is a personal safety app that is so important for both on and off-campus. The app allows you to choose up to 6 trusted friends to add to your circle. If you get into an uncomfortable or risky situation, you can use Circle of 6 to automatically send your circle a pre-programmed SMS alert message with your exact location. It also connects you to 24-hour hotlines for safety and information.

For iOS and will be back Android in the future.

MyScript Calculator

My Script Calculator is a fun way to work on math. You can write calculations and get results in real-time. You can also reuse previous results with drag and drop. This app is a lot more fun than your traditional calculator.

For iOS and Android

Exam Countdown Lite

Exam Countdown Lite is a beautiful way to countdown and be reminded of exams. You can create unlimited exam countdowns on the free version. You can also use color-coding and can count down years, days, hours, minutes, and even seconds. You can also choose from 400 icons to really customize your experience.

For iOS and Android

Flashcards with Cram

This app works with your Cram account and will allow you to study and practice what you will need to know for your exams. You will have access to over 80,000,000 flashcards on Cram and it works online and offline. There are different modes, card mode, memorize mode, cram mode, and games mode.

For iOS and Android


Quizlet is another flashcard app to use and will allow you to master what you need to know. You can create your own quiz or search for one already made. You can learn, fill in the blank with the write option, quiz yourself, play timed memory games, and share with your friends and classmates. You can also listen to the proper punctuation of your vocabulary words.

For iOS and Android

Forest-Stay Focused

If you have trouble staying focused when you are supposed to be studying or working on important tasks, Forest-Stay Focused is the app for you. The app has you plant a seed and then the seed will grow into a tree. However, if you pick up your phone before the time limit is up, your seed and tree will die and not grow.

For iOS and Android

Using these apps for students can make your life as a college student a little easier. You can also search your app store to see what else you might want to add to your phone’s library.





Mikie Sherrill: Veteran and Congresswoman from New Jersey

Rebecca Michelle “Mikie” Sherrill is a Democrat who has won a seat in the US House of Representatives in New Jersey’s 11th District. This is her first political office.

About Mikie Sherrill

Mikie was born in 1972 in Alexandra, Virginia. She grew up on the East Coast because of her father’s job and now lives in Montclair, New Jersey with her husband Jason, and four children.

Education and Military Career

She went to the Naval Academy and graduated in 1994. She then spent 10 years in active duty in the United States Navy. She was a Sea King helicopter pilot and flew missions throughout Europe and the Middle East. She also worked on the Battle Watch Floor in the European Theater during the Iraq invasion and served as a Flag Aide to the Deputy Commander in Chief of the US Atlantic Fleet. She also served as a Russian policy officer and worked on the implementation of our nuclear treaty obligations and oversaw the relationship between the US Navy and Russian Federation Navy.

RELATED: See all 19 veterans going to Congress for the first time in 2019

Post-Graduate Education and Civilian Career

After leaving the Navy in 2003, having worked her way to the rank of Lieutenant Commander, she earned her MS in Global History from the London School of  Economics and Political Science. Mikie then earned her JD from the Georgetown University Law Center in 2007. She worked as a Litigation Associate at Kirkland and Ellis from 2008-2011 and eventually joined the US Attorney’s Office in New Jersey. She worked as an Outreach and Re-entry Coordinator from 2012-2015 and developed programs to help prevent crime in the community. As an Assistant US Attorney under Paul Fishman from 2015-2016, she worked to keep illegal guns off the streets and keep communities safe as well as prosecuting federal cases and advising law enforcement on investigations. She also has a certificate in Arabic Language from the American University in Cairo in 2004.

Political Outlook

When it comes to serving in the US House of Representatives, Mikie is concerned about the people of New Jersey and how they will afford their homes, their kid’s college tuition, or rising health care premiums. She knows that seniors worry about the future of social security and medicare. She believes that leaders in Congress keep passing legislation that hurts New Jersey and wants to change that. She wants to bring her experiences to Washington and to bring a different kind of leadership to Congress, one that will move the country forward, listen to the people, and put their interests ahead of party.

Mikie has spent her entire life serving her country and wants to continue to do so. The issues that are important to her are jobs and the economy, healthcare, tax relief, women’s rights, education, tackling addiction and the opioid crisis, national security, preventing gun violence, social security and medicare, veterans, people before politics, and the environment.

Veterans’ Issues

When it comes to veterans, she believes that our service members deserve access to educational opportunities, employment, first-class healthcare and rehabilitation. She does not think that they should have to travel hours to reach a VA facility. She believes that Washington has fallen short on its promises to care for veterans. She is going to try to fix the VA and make sure that the 400,000 veterans in New Jersey receive the best care possible. She also wants to make sure that veterans in the community have top-notch constituent services to help navigate the federal benefits system.

Mikie Sherrill won against Republican Jay Webber, Honesty, Integrity, and Compassion candidate Robert Crook, and Libertarian, Ryan Martinez.




Thanksgiving: Tips for Survival

Thanksgiving is almost upon us. Many of us are dreaming of grandma’s pie or the endless amount of stuffing we’re about to consume…



But for some of us, there’s always a looming concern of family drama and table conversations that make our skin crawl…

With the current state of affairs and how spilt our country is politically, that is truly no surprise. But, at CollegeRecon, we can’t accept the fact that holidays are just going to be a bear as long as our day to day lives are politically charged.

That is why, we’ve come up with some tips on how to survive your Thanksgiving Day free of stress, awkward or inappropriate conversations, & full of food!


Tip 1. Be Honest With Yourself

You know yourself and you know your family and friends. There are more than likely some people who know how to push your buttons. Be cognizant of that prior to going to the Thanksgiving festivities and remind yourself that you have to be more patient with this person than with most. Don’t walk up to those who push your buttons with your guard down. Be aware and mentally know that any hurtful or inappropriate topics they might bring up, have nothing to do with you and everything to do with them & their beliefs and insecurities.


Tip 2. Have An Escape Plan

Instead of just sitting around all day at your Thanksgiving meal, take part in it! If you aren’t hosting, ask the host when you arrive what you can be in charge of to help make their life easier. Examples: Keeping the ice bucket stocked, making sure the beverage selection doesn’t get low, constantly picking up plates/cups/napkins. This way, if you find yourself in a conversation that isn’t going in the right direction, you can easily excuse yourself to tend to your duties for the day.


Tip 3. Pace Yourself

Thanksgiving is a day we look forward to and drool about all year long. However, overindulging can leave us in a bad mood or with an uncomfortably large food-baby. Our advice: Eat your food slowly and with purpose. Take the time to savor each bite and converse with those around you. Eating more slowly ensures that your brain has time to “catch up” and tell you if you’re still hungry, or if you are at your limit.


Tip 4. Remember What It’s All About

It’s far too easy getting caught up in the stress of the holidays. However, at the end of the day, the modern day Thanksgiving is all about giving thanks for what we have. In a weird and twisted way, you can be thankful to even have family that you don’t necessarily see eye-to-eye with. Because some people don’t have any family at all. And don’t forget that you are lucky to be able to be home with your loved ones. There are many serving their country spread out around the world who are unable to feast with their families this year. Remember them.


Do you have any tips on surviving holiday parties? We’d love to hear what has worked for you!





Going to School as a Parent…How It’s Possible

Thinking About Going Back-to-School as a Parent?  Here’s Some Helpful Tips

Going to school as a parent may seem impossible, but if armed with the right tips, tricks, and tools can actually be quite successful for the whole family.

Ask for Help

Raising a child takes a village. Adding school to the mix only adds to the need for assistance. (If you are a military spouse, enlist the help of peers and friends on or around base. Trade off who watches the kids on different afternoons so that each parent can get some alone time to take care of the priorities in their household.)

Set a Schedule

If you’re a new parent, then your baby will have quite the schedule… they’ll sleep and eat pretty much at set times. Take advantage of that routine and schedule your “class time” or “study time” while your child naps. Another reason to have a schedule and stick to it is so that you can schedule in some down time for yourself. Being a parent, student, and spouse all at once is sure to be exhausting and rewarding all at the same time. Make sure to take some time to decompress as well whether that means taking a walk, meditating, or reading a book for leisure.

Establish Priorities

The truth is, no one can do it all, all the time. While you are taking classes, make sure to name the priorities in your life at that time. For example: Family, school & work. If those are your priorities, then everything else doesn’t matter. Stressing over a dirty house? It’s not a priority at this time in your life, so forget it. As long as everyone in your family is happy, healthy, & fed and school and work are getting the attention they demand, then all is well. Don’t expect yourself to do the impossible and stretch yourself too thin.

Seek out Scholarships

Parents know more than anyone, just how expensive children are. That said, there might not be a whole lot of extra money around for you and the expenses that come along with your education. (Some might even prioritize saving for their children’s’ education instead of spending money on their own.) Regardless, there are scholarship opportunities out there, especially for military & military spouses.

Here are a few resources –


Find Scholarships for Military, Veterans, Spouses and Dependents!





Columbia College Offers Military Friendly Options for Student Veterans

Columbia College’s Options for Student Veterans

Columbia College is a higher education institution that serves its students through 34 nationwide locations. Programming at this campus seems to be extensive. However, before drawing conclusions I want to find out what Columbia College does to serve those who served our country.

Columbia College Overview

You can find Columbia College in Columbia, MO, situated equal parts from Kansas City and St. Louis.  This rural, private, 4-year institution offers its 15,647 students associates, bachelors, and masters degree programs.

(Courtesy: Columbia College)

Ranked Online Degree Programs

Columbia College is proud of its online campus where students can take classes from the comfort of home. Furthermore, 4 of their online degree programs are ranked by US News & World Report ranked:

  • Best Online Bachelor’s Programs
  • Best Online MBA Programs
  • Best Online Graduate Criminal Justice Programs
  • Best Online Graduate Education Programs

Military Programs at Columbia

Columbia’s 866 military connected students have financial and academic support available to them through the following programs:

Campus SVA Chapter

Full-time, on-campus Veteran counselor

8 Keys to Veterans Success

Signed VA Principles of Excellence

A Club/Association for Veterans

Offers College Credit for Military Experience

Awards Credit for CLEP & DSST Exams

Approved for TA Funding

Yellow Ribbon Program

Scholarships for Military

Reduced Tuition for Military

**All of the above programs are explained here.


Tuition Realities

Higher education is expensive in the U.S. This isn’t news to anyone. But, no one wants the bills to rack up and have things get hairy. Firstly, have a plan in mind so bills aren’t a surprise. Secondly, choose a school that has extra financial aid options.

As a private institution, Columbia College’s additional military affiliated financial aid can help offset the current in-state tuition price tag of $7,465.

Interesting Fact: Columbia stands out for having some of the lowest tuition rates for graduate credits in comparison to other online degree programs.

(Courtesy: Columbia College)

Unique Military Programs

The college’s Ousley Family Veterans Service Center  appears to be equipped to support and facilitate the transition to campus. This center is open every weekday for all military associated students & dependents attending Columbia.

Columbia hosts web seminars about different college services as well as seminars specific to military affiliated students. All previous seminars are saved on their website incase you can’t attend them live.

A unique program to Columbia is their Military Transition Team (MTT). This team consists of faculty and staff who go through extensive training of the unique needs of student Veterans and military on campus. The MTT assists in all aspects of college life: financial aid, military credit evaluation, mental health services, & success services.

(Courtesy DVIDS)

What students say

I wanted to know from the source, what is this college like? Columbia’s current and past students give the college an overall score of B- and an average rating of 3.8 out of 5.

Multiple students spoke about the positive impact of diversity on campus life and the influence of a military student presence. 86% of students said the manageability of the course load at Columbia is above average.



The 8 Keys To Veterans Success: What’s Missing

Every school nowadays wants to be a ‘military friendly school’ and participate in multiple Veteran/Military/GI Bill user programs. But, what are these programs comprised of? How did they come to fruition? Who is in charge of them? And most importantly: How will these programs help veterans?

What’s Missing from the 8 Keys to Veterans Success?

In August 2013 the Obama Administration with the Department of Education (ED) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) challenged education institutions to adopt best practices supporting educational success for veterans.

A wide range of stakeholders, (non-profit organizations, foundations, Veteran service organizations, & Veterans who recently completed postsecondary education) participated in discussions which led to the following conclusion.

“We’re announcing what we call ‘8 Keys to Success’ — specific steps that schools can take to truly welcome and encourage our Veterans,” President Obama said.

What Are the 8 Keys to Veteran Success?

  1. Create a culture of trust and connectedness across the campus community to promote well-being and success for Veterans.
  2. Ensure consistent and sustained support from campus leadership.
  3. Implement an early alert system to ensure all Veterans receive academic, career, and financial advice before challenges become overwhelming.
  4. Coordinate and centralize campus efforts for all Veterans, together with the creation of a designated space (even if limited in size).
  5. Collaborate with local communities and organizations, including government agencies, to align and coordinate various services for Veterans.
  6. Use a uniform set of data tools to collect and track information on Veterans, including demographics, retention and degree completion.
  7. Provide comprehensive professional development for faculty and staff on issues and challenges unique to Veterans.
  8. Develop systems that ensure sustainability of effective practices for Veterans.

When the program launched, 250 community colleges & universities signed on. Now that number is up to 2,115 higher education institutions.

However, there is one major drawback…

While these are wonderful *keys* to commit to, it is apparent that there is a hole in this program.

The U.S. Department of Education came out and said that they cannot assure that the institutions that have signed up are in fact implementing the 8 Keys, or how well they have been implemented.

This is one of the easier programs for schools to put on their resume when it is also highly possible that the school isn’t necessarily committed at all. (There is no policing by the Dept. of Education for this program.)

What Schools Must Do To Commit To The 8 Keys

All an institution has to do to say they are committed to the 8 Keys and then they get credit for having that program on campus.

Your institution’s president or chancellor should address a letter on official letterhead to the Department of Education affirming the institution’s support and commitment to the 8 Keys.” — Department of Education website.

Are schools proving the 8 Keys are alive on campus?

Finding information about the 8 Keys and how they are put into practice on campuses proves very difficult.

The goal of this article was in fact to highlight positive feedback of the program, however information of that sort is nowhere to be found. No one can say what impact these 8 Keys are making nationwide nor what capacity schools are committing themselves.

Gather your own information

Moral of the story: Don’t look at a college or university’s website that says “8 Keys to Veterans Success” and by default think it is implemented on campus. Be smart and gather your own information by talking to veterans counselors or ask to be introduced to a veteran currently enrolled at that school. Make sure not to enroll somewhere under the assumption that it is committed to this program if in fact, it is not.





Veteran Experiences Shared for Therapy, History and Jobs

America’s respect and admiration for our veterans was rekindled as a result of 9/11. We suffered a common attack on our homeland and we understand the fight that we send our service members to face. The bond we feel with our veterans is as strong today as it was following WWII.

Because of this, there are many veteran experiences projects across the country. Each intends to help veterans tell their unique stories. Some are therapeutic. Some give historical value to each individual’s experience. And some offer real training in the profession of writing. We take a look at three such programs here.

Wright State’s Veterans Voices

The first is Wright State’s Veterans Voices. It’s a collaboration between WYSO and Wright State University’s Veteran and Military Center (VMC). It began as part of Veterans Coming Home and now receives funding from Ohio Humanities.

Wright State’s Matt Bauer and George Denillo (Courtesy: Wright State)

Student veterans at Wright State University produce stories featuring Miami Valley veterans. The stories cover a variety of conflicts and branches of service. The veterans describe their experiences of re-entry into civilian life in their own voices.

Spend time on Veteran Voices and you’ll meet Lieutenant Bobby Walker, a behavioral scientist in the United States Air Force. Walker was being involuntarily separated from the Air Force due to Force Shaping, and started a Fronana business with the future in mind.

You’ll also visit with Air Force veteran Jennifer Queen with her dogs P-Nut, Carmen and Annie. Author Allison Loy writes, “Approximately 300,000 Post-9/11 veterans are identified as having post-traumatic stress disorder in this country but it’s estimated that only 1 in 3 asks for help.” Queen suffers nightmares and other problems due to combat trauma. Her story story shows how dogs help veterans cope with PTSD.

These interviews are stored in The Library of Congress and Wright State University’s archives.

“For reasons not quite defined, in our culture it’s very easy for veterans to disappear, for their voices not to be heard.”

– April Fitzsimmons, Air Force Intelligence Analyst

Ampers and the Minnesota Humanities Center

Another Veterans Voices project is co-sponsored by Ampers and the Minnesota Humanities Center. Veterans share their perspectives on their lives, military service and reintegration into civilian life. Topics include the decision to join the military, sexual assault and leaving the military.

You’ll meet Army Veteran Brock Hunter, who thinks the media have sanitized war coverage. Hunter says this is why the general population does not understand what veterans have gone through, nor what they have to offer.

Meet veteran Ryan Schmidt. He talks about veteran experiences like the challenges of being a trained soldier and a loving father and husband. This, while also missing the camaraderie of fellow service members.

Ampers also sponsors a project called Veterans’ Voices of World War II. This series offers gritty veteran experiences from Minnesota veterans who served in that conflict.

The interviews are short and to the point. Definitely worth your time.

Veterans Writing Scripts

The Veterans Writing Project pairs military vets with experienced film and television writers. These writers are members of the Writers Guild of America, and experienced at writing for television and movies.

The programs mentors veterans as they develop their storytelling chops. They learn to write scripts professionally. They start with a weekend seminar, then develop their skills in a series of meetings with writers held throughout the next year.

This program is not therapeutic. It’s a job training program for veterans who want to write for TV shows and movies.

Katie Buckland of the Writers Guild Foundation says, “They can work on any project that they want. We have writers who are working on action movies, writers who are writing comedy series, and writers who are working on family dramas. In each group just about every genre is covered.”

She continues, “I get calls regularly from showrunners saying ‘who’s in the veteran’s pipeline? I’d like to hire a vet to write on my show.”

The opportunity is for veterans who want to be storytellers. They use their veteran experiences to add realism and authenticity to the stories and scripts that they write. With real opportunities waiting for talented authors, this course has already helped some veterans land good jobs.

Projects like Veterans Voices are important to our veterans and our culture. When veterans help other veterans to tell their stories, there’s a kinship and bond that develops. The stories are more authentic than those shared with most civilians. Why? Because the interviewees are at ease with their veteran interviewers.

And the veterans behind the projects learn real skills – writing, interviewing, journalism, storytelling – that help them in their civilian careers.

Featured Image Courtesy: Observer Culture



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