Female Veterans Already Have What it Takes Part 2

Education Before and After the Military

Education matters in the extreme to returning female veterans. It’s as simple as this: the more educated you are, the likelier and quicker you are to find a job on the outside, and in particular, a job you like, and feel valued because of, rather than in spite of, your military experience. In fact, regardless of their period of service, unemployment rates in 2010 for veterans with higher levels of education were lower than for those with less education.5 Additionally, a college graduate can expect to make hundreds of thousands of dollars more over their lifetime than someone with just a high school diploma.6

That being said, women veterans often already know the value of an education. According to one study, 72 percent of women veterans had at least some college experience; 40 percent of those had at least a bachelor’s degree. A relatively small proportion, 4 percent, had no high school diploma, which can be explained by the education requirements for military service. Approximately 24 percent finished high school as the highest level of education.7

When you become a veteran, you have resources, financial and otherwise, at your disposal to help keep you moving towards your educational goals, no matter where you left off prior to joining the military. According to Veterans Affairs, as of 2007, 242,590 women veterans used the Montgomery G.I. Bill, available to veterans entering the military after June 30, 1985, to go back to school. Over 93% of these women veterans used these G.I. benefits to attend college, including junior colleges, four-year programs, and post-graduate programs.8 The increasing popularity, flexibility and lower cost of online education has also made it easier than ever for both active duty military and vets to fit college into their busy lives .

Though there are several external resources available to women veterans, there are also incredibly powerful resources that come from within. These internal sources of character are the same characteristics which made them successful in the military in the first place: committed, capable, motivated, loyal and strong.

Committed

Going back to school, like entering the military, requires a certain stick-to-it-ness in order to be successful. A military veteran fully understands the relationship between short-term steps, temporary and acute discomfort, and long-term goal achievement. With the advent of online education, women veterans can fully utilize their ability to commit and their need for flexibility to keep on top of their family responsibilities, work responsibilities, as well as their educational goals -- even when times are tough. Knowing that during the last couple of years, over 20 percent of all undergraduates have taken at least one distance education course,9 a veteran can feel comfortable tapping into technology to help them stay on their educational path.


5 Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Situation of Veterans Summary, March 11, 2010 http://www.bls.gov/news.release/vet.nr0.htm

6 Brooks C. Holtom (Pro), Tony Brummel (Con) College Is Worth the Cost, The earning potential and variety of opportunities a bachelor’s degree bestows justify the cost of tuition. Pro or con? Bloomberg Businessweek, Mar 2010 http://www.businessweek.com/debateroom/archives/2010/03/college_is_worth_the_cost.html

7 Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of Policy and Planning, Women Veterans: Past Present and Future, September 2007, p.15 http://www.va.gov/womenvet/docs/WomenVet_History.pdf

8 Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of Policy and Planning, Women Veterans: Past Present and Future, September 2007, p.18-19 http://www.va.gov/womenvet/docs/WomenVet_History.pdf

9 U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. (2011). The Condition of Education 2011 (NCES 2011-033), Indicator 43 http://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=80