Thursday, April 12, 2012

New Jersey Veteran Affairs Benefits

New Jersey Veteran Affairs Benefits, by June Olsen


As a followup to a piece I wrote a few month's ago, please enjoy this wonderful and informative article by June Olsen.

The state of New Jersey offers robust benefits to citizens who have served in the military, particularly where education is concerned. New Jersey’s colleges and universities actively recruit prior service members for all degree programs, and offer a host of job training benefits and programs exclusively for veterans. Benefits are not limited to education, however. New Jersey veterans enjoy a range of benefits including tax breaks, underwritten health care costs, and home loan programs.

College benefits for veterans are primarily administered under the Post-9/11 GI Bill, which is a national program of tuition assistance for service members who spent at least 90 days in active duty in the months and years after September 11, 2001. The GI Bill pays for full college tuition and most living expenses at any public university, and most if not all tuition and costs at private schools. Although some veterans will prefer to enroll in accredited online degree programs, New Jersey has established a number of programs designed to encourage New Jersey veterans to use their benefits at in-state schools. All New Jersey campuses also have veterans programs that help prior service students maximize their benefits and make the best choices where payouts are concerned.

Schools also strive to help veterans stay in school. Sometimes this is as simple as career and education counseling, but it can also be financial. For example, Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, has an emergency scholarship fund for veteran students whose funding from the national Veteran’s Affairs office is tied up or delayed. Since mid-2011, when drawbacks in Iraq and Afghanistan began taking effect, more students than ever before have been claiming GI Bill benefits. Increased demand has lead to bureaucratic backlogs that can significantly delay payments to students and schools, CNN reported in April 2012. “Demand for the program has been so robust that it nearly crippled the Veterans Administration's computer processing system, delaying benefits for vets who are trying to further their educations,” the report said. At Rutgers, however, students can rest easy. The Veterans’ Services program at that school maintains a $30,000 “emergency” scholarship fund to help students whose funding is delayed during their studies.

New Jersey has also implemented a number of state-specific programs to take advantage of GI Bill money. The “VETeach Pilot Program,” new in April 2012, is but one example. Under this program, veterans attend a 36-month teacher preparation program, the completion of which provides two things: a bachelor’s degree in education; and a guaranteed job teaching in a New Jersey public school.

“New Jersey’s veterans are among the most disciplined and highly trained members of the state’s workforce,” Assistant Governor Kim Guadagno told The Trentonian shortly after the VETeach bill was passed into law. “Our school districts will benefit in a very meaningful way by having these dedicated men and women apply their experience in the service of educating of New Jersey’s children. Not only will these veterans serve our state in the classroom, their personal sacrifice on behalf of our nation serves as a great example to students about the meaning of service, community and dedication.”

June recently graduated with a degree in educational psychology.

Mark Slade
Keller Williams
Proud to help our Vets with their Real Estate Needs

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