Maryland Compact to Help Veterans in Higher Education

Today, presidents and other officials from community colleges and public institutions of higher education of Maryland will gather to sign the Maryland Campus Compact for Student Veterans, in an attempt to recognize the unique challenges of Veterans returning from the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

60 years ago, Congress signed the GI Bill and allowed Veterans from the Second World War to have government assistance to go to college, effectively creating the American middle class, and redefining the American Dream as it opened up higher education to many Americans who had put their life on the line in defense of democracy.

Since its inception, the GI Bill has allowed Veterans to go to college and bring a unique maturity and experience to classrooms, enhancing discussions and classroom experiences for all involved. But each generation, and each war, is different, so the resources for Veterans have to change to help them out.

With current knowledge of psychology, the detection and treatment of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is much more common and afflict a higher proportion of Veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. As a result, suicides and suicide attempts are at an all-time high for returning Veterans and administrators at Maryland’s public institutions are expanding Veteran’s access to behavioral health service in order to combat this trend.

The compact calls on the higher education community to do more for the Veterans, and each campus has pledged an office or staff person as a “go to” person for all student Veterans to help in everything from GI Bill paperwork to counseling. It also encourages campuses to organize student organizations so Veterans can receive support from their peers.

For more information, please visit: http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/bs-ed-veterans-20110131,0,3660797.story

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