GI Bill users shunning four-year colleges

Aug. 4, 2008 at 8:45 AM
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SEATTLE, Aug. 4 (UPI) -- U.S. military veterans aren't using the new GI Bill to flock to traditional four-year universities but are instead favoring two-year schools, educators say.

Rather than emulating what World War II veterans did in the 1940s and 1950s, today's veterans are using the tuition benefits of the bill instead to attend community colleges, for-profit schools or to pay for flexible online training courses, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported Monday.

"A lot of the veterans go to the university and they kind of get lost," Tony Diaz, veteran affairs coordinator at Seattle Central Community College, told the newspaper, saying community colleges serve as a "transitional place" where veterans can reorient to civilian life.

The newspaper quoted an analysis by The Chronicle of Higher Education showing that most GI Bill users enrolled at community colleges or for-profit schools and that veterans using military tuition benefits were far less likely to enter four-year private colleges than the rest of the nation.

The veterans also seem to be flocking to online classes, one educator said. Bill McMeeking, executive vice president of two-year Pierce College in Puyallup, Wash., told the Post-Intelligencer that about 70 percent of the college's GI students -- roughly 5,000 per term -- take classes online.

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