Agenda: Commitment to Veterans. Commitment to Veterans Veteran Culture Educational Benefits Best Practices

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1 Boots to Books: Best Practices for Administering Veteran s Benefits Scholarships & Financial Aid Texas A&M University Agenda: Commitment to Veterans Veteran Culture Educational Benefits Best Practices Commitment to Veterans Texas A&M University has always had a strong military presence and is steeped in military history. Currently we serve over 1000 students using benefits including veterans, military, and dependents. We are committed to providing the best educational services to these students and are a proud member of Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges (SOC) to demonstrate this commitment. 1

2 Mission Statement To provide and assist veterans, service members and military families with information and resources in making their transition from military to academic life. The Numbers Fall 2010 to date This includes Veterans and dependents on federal and/or state benefits We have seen the numbers increase dramatically in with the biggest increase in Chap. 33 dependents and Hazlewood dependents Who is the returning veteran? Military culture & deployment Concerns affecting veteran students Best practices for advising veteran and military students 2

3 Which Students Are Veterans? Active duty Reserves National Guard Former military OEF = Operation Enduring Freedom Began 7 Oct 2001 in response to terrorist attacks and further threats Multinational military operation fought mostly in Afghanistan OIF = Operation Iraqi Freedom Began 20 Mar 2003 Multinational military operation fought entirely in Iraq VA reports that 1.6 million men and women have served in Iraq and Afghanistan Approximately 500,000 veterans of those wars now collect benefits from the current GI Bill Inside Higher Ed, July 11,

4 Challenges for Veteran/Military Students Inflexible/bureaucratic administrative structures Lack of preparation by university systems Unique social barriers with classmates due to age and experience Loss of sense of purpose, teamwork and camaraderie; need for cohesive interaction with true peers Significant mental health barriers as a result of military service In Advising What might you see? Anxiety Reluctance Stress Frustration Aggressiveness Fatigue How to Advise Create a safe, open, and welcoming space Non-judgmental Privacy Safe environment Build trust and understanding LISTEN to what is said and not said Let the student talk Ask open-ended questions about on-campus experience and challenges 4

5 Strategies for Working with Veterans Let them talk make plenty of time Avoid intrusive/inappropriate questions Be aware of resources on campus that veteran students may need Get to know Admissions contacts that work with Veterans Get to know the Student Counseling Service Get to know Academic Resources Get to know the Veteran Students Association Know your students and the student issues calendar of the year Invisible Wounds of War 14% PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) 14% Depression 19% Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) 33% PTSD, Depression, or TBI 5% reported symptoms of all three Rand Corporation, 2008 PTSD Rates 40% of OIF/OEF veterans have or will acquire PTSD 30% lifetime rate of Vietnam vets Why the rise? 5

6 PTSD & Anger Higher levels of anger/ hostility (see Orth & Wieland, 2006) Anger/ hostility more associated in samples of combat veterans (see Orth & Wieland, 2006) Veterans with PTSD respond with more hostility in nonprovoking IP interactions (Beckham et al., 1996) experience more anger in response to trauma cues (Pitman, et al., 1987; Taft et al., 2006_ PTSD & Other Concerns Marital problems, divorce Parenting problems, poorer family adjustment Less self disclosing Sexual dysfunction Interpersonal violence Secondary traumatization National Center for PTSD Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Signature Injury of OIF/OEF due to Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) Prevalence hard to estimate Explosions count for 75% of combat-related injuries 6

7 Traumatic Brain Injury Symptoms Headaches Tinnitus Dizziness, balance problems Sleep problems Persistent fatigue Speech, hearing and vision impairments (sometimes sensitivity to light, sound) Traumatic Brain Injury Symptoms, cont. Impairments in attention, concentration, and organization Slowed thinking, reading Impaired decision-making or problemssolving I just don t feel like myself Memory problems: more like dementia and amnesia Slowed thinking, reading Traumatic Brain Injury Symptoms, cont. Poor impulse and anger control Easily irritated by problem-solving or multitasking Difficulty inhibiting behavior Changes in sexual behavior or interest 7

8 Traumatic Brain Injury Relationship between TBI and PTSD: Each can complicate diagnosis and treatment of the other Very difficult to sort out PTSD, Depression, and head injury symptoms TBI can present as psychological ; personality disorder SUICIDE From the suicide rate among year-old male veterans jumped 26% (Veterans Affairs Department) Of the 30,000 Americans who take their lives each year, 6,000 are veterans (U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Eric Shinseki) In 2009 the suicide rate in all four military branches was higher than the overall national average (52 Marines, 48 sailors and 41 airmen took their lives) (Lisa Black and Stacy St. Clair, Chicago Tribune) PTSD & Suicidality PTSD patients 6 times more likely to attempt suicide than the general population PTSD has higher risk of increased number of suicide attempts than all other anxiety disorders 19% of patients with PTSD will attempt suicide Kessler et al. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1999;56:617. 8

9 Veterans Benefits overview Chapter 35 Dependent Dependent of 100% disabled or deceased Veterans base rate up to $925 per month Chapter 31 Disabled Veterans Disabled Veterans Tuition, fees, books and other incidentals as allowed by Voc Rehab, $ base rate per month (with no dependents) Chapter 30- Veterans $1321 per month (can be increased with kicker college fund) Chapter 30-Active duty Tuition and fees only Benefits Continued Chapter 1606 Selected Reservist without active duty time, up to $333 a month Chapter 1607 Selective Reservist or Individual Ready Reservist with active duty service. Base rate up to $ per month with 2 + years service, percentage of Chp. 30 payment on service time. Post 9/11-Chapter 33 GI Bill Individual who served on active duty after September 10, Served an aggregate period of at least 90 days or served 30 days of active duty with a disability discharge Maximum benefit paid for at least 36 months 9

10 Chapter 33-Post 9/11 GI Bill Tuition & (mandatory) fees paid directly to school Monthly housing allowance paid to the student based on the BAH(basic allowance for housing) for an E-5 with dependents and on the ZIP code of the location of the school the beneficiary is attending ($ for BCS). Active duty not eligible. Annual book stipend of $1,000 paid proportionately based on enrollment up to 24 credits per year ($41.67 per credit hour). Active duty not eligible. Active Duty-Chapter 33 Individuals on active duty are eligible for the lesser of: tuition and fees charged OR amount of charges that exceed the amount paid by military tuition assistance Individuals on active duty are NOT eligible for the BAH and books & supplies Military Friendly Checklist Dedicated Veteran Services Office-one central location to obtain information Dedicated veterans academic advisor Dedicated veterans admissions advisor-targeted communication prior to their arrival on campus. Streamlined withdrawal and reenrollment processes for deployed students while in school Deferred tuition and fees pending VA funds Veteran New Student Orientation Veteran faculty/staff mentors and training for these mentors 10

11 Military Friendly Checklist VA work study opportunities Recognized Veteran Student Organization Student services tailored to veterans Yellow Ribbon Program participant Veteran Programs and Workshops Enhance Website-easy to find information and link on schools website Establish an Advisory committee that includes representation across campus. Offer early class registration for Veterans Troops to College The Troops to College Committee was formed in December 2008 as part of Project Military Friendly within the Texas A&M University System. This group was formed to address veterans issues on campus and to take up initiatives brought forth by the committee, students, academic community, and local community to help Texas A&M University honor our military heritage and to do all we can to be Military Friendly. Veteran Services at Texas A&M University VA and Texas education benefits processing Program advising for other campus departments Scholarships & Financial Aid assistance Referrals to other campus and community resources Admissions Student Affairs / Student Assistance Center Student Counseling Services Disability Services Academic Advising ROTC Office Office of the Commandant Texas Workforce Commission Texas Veterans Commission Veterans Affairs in College Station Other veteran community resources 11

12 Jolee Helpful Information Veteran Services Office Student Counseling Services VA/GI Bill Information Texas Hazlewood Information 12

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