By Amanda Rosenblatt
Among the benefits waiting for them when they come home from duty, education via the GI Bill is one of the most important. Many Americans opt to go through the military not only for the honor to serve, but to help pay for their higher education.
There are those who nobly make it their career goal to make sure that veterans know of their benefits. Derek Abbey at San Diego State University works for the Joan and Art Barron Veterans Center, and he intends that veterans at military bases and community colleges are aware of their vast educational options.
His main goal now is to make sure people coming home from the military and want to attend college have the correct answers and resources on how to proceed. “A veteran that is separating from the service and seeking out higher education options has to attempt to learn about the VA system and the higher education system,” Derek said, in an interview with us here at Federal Home Loan Centers. “For someone new to higher education, as most student veterans are, this becomes very difficult.”
If Derek were President, or has any suggestions to the next President our country gets, he says to keep it simple. “Simplify the system,” he says. “Because of the bureaucratic and administrative nature of the VA system, it is horribly convoluted.”
Derek is a retired marine and when he was working on a Masters degree, he conducted research with veterans who were in higher education. This case study within SDSU lead to him consulting with other schools to craft strategies in gaining and obtaining military oriented students.
Inspiration is another factor that keeps Derek going. “I am always impressed and inspired by people that use their sphere of influence to help others in whatever way possible,” he shares. “Especially when it is initiative based and lacking selfish desire.”
A great inspiration in his life is Dr. Patrick Scannon, the creator of the BentProp Project. “He is not a person that has a great deal of spare time on his hands, but he uses what time has and his own resources to search for Americans lost during World War II.”
Derek literally can’t be stopped. Aside from his work with the BentProp Project in bringing home MIA soldiers, he also wants to run a marathon in all 50 US states. So far, he has checked ten states off his list.
Being an advocate for the military learning about their benefits, Derek definitely recommends seeking out answers not only on the GI Bill, but also the VA home loan. “Veterans should definitely educate themselves on their benefits and use them in a responsible way,” he tells us. “This includes the VA home loan that makes the dream of owning a home become a reality a lot easier, especially in a market like San Diego where housing costs are extraordinary.”
Derek’s work is not in vain, as SDSU just last year was voted a great place for veterans to continue their education. Military Times Magazine dubbed the College of Business Admin at SDSU the 18th best business school for MBA’s in a Top 20 list.
Check out the Joan and Art Barron Veterans Center at SDSU by following the link: http://arweb.sdsu.edu/es/veterans/. Email them for more info at firstname.lastname@example.org or call at 619-594-5813. More info on the GI Bill through the VA here.
Are you a veteran, or active military, and want info on the VA Home Loan? Visit: https://www.vahomeloancenters.org/va-hlc-home-loan-info/.
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