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Colleges' readiness for GI Bill questioned

WASHINGTON, Aug. 1 (UPI) -- An expected influx of U.S. military veterans into colleges under the provisions of the G.I. Bill will test the schools' readiness, experts say.

The Department of Veterans Affairs has already approved 112,000 applications under the program, which helps former armed services members pay for undergraduate or advanced degrees and takes effect Saturday, The Christian Science Monitor reported.

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"It represents the first time since the original GI Bill where affordability is very unlikely to be a barrier as they seek the college of their choice," Jim Selbe, who manages military programs for the American Council on Education, told the newspaper, adding that the new students will test "whether or not (colleges) are prepared for this influx."

A survey performed by ACE indicated that only 22 percent of the 723 colleges and universities that responded have policies in place to quickly re-enroll one-time students who left school to serve in the military and who are now returning, the newspaper said.

The vast majority of colleges contacted also do not grant academic credit for military and occupational training received in the armed forces, which Selbe said is "the No. 1 source of disappointment" among veterans returning to college, the Monitor reported.

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