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President Obama outlines keys to academic success for veterans


Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Members of the military often choose to earn a college degree upon completion of their service commitment. However, for returning veterans transitioning to civilian life, the college application process can be daunting. Fortunately, there is a great deal of support available to these men and women, and President Barack Obama recently announced an initiative to increase veterans' chances of enrolling in college and successfully earning their degree.

A nationwide program
The president's "8 Keys to Success" initiative was formally announced at the Disabled American Veterans National Convention in Orlando, Florida, on August 10. During his address, Obama called for universities and community colleges across the nation to formally adopt the framework of best practices to support educational success among returning servicemen and women who look to postsecondary education as a way to further their civilian careers.

"We're announcing what we call '8 Keys to Success' - specific steps that schools can take to truly welcome and encourage our veterans," said Obama. "And so far, more than 250 community colleges and universities have signed on, and today I'm calling on schools across America to join us in this effort.  Let's help our veterans get that degree, get that credential and compete for the high-skilled jobs of tomorrow."

Every step of the way
The eight core principles of the program aim to support veterans at every stage of their student life. Enriching campus communities and promoting values of trust and connectedness, expanding use of demographic information and other data metrics, implementing an early warning system for students at risk of dropping out, and ensuring veterans have consistent support throughout their college experience were among the eight values outlined by the president.

This initiative is the latest project to increase the number of former military personnel enrolling in college degree programs. The Post-9/11 GI Bill, a form of financial aid offered to veterans, has helped more than 1 million returning servicemen and women pursue higher education since it was introduced in 2009, and is the largest financial aid initiative since the Serviceman's Readjustment Act of 1944.

In today's competitive job market, there is little doubt that earning a college degree is one of the best investments veterans can make upon their return to civilian life. By taking advantage of this and other support programs aimed at former servicemen and women, veterans can leverage the skills they acquired during their service and embark on exciting new careers after college.

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