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And Education for All

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I’m a veteran of the United States Army.

It’s a good Army. Showed me the world. Let me play with things that I probably ought not have played with. Let me blow stuff up.

The trade-off, however, of doing lots of cool things is that they just don’t pay very much. They’re pretty damned stingy, to be honest. I mean, sure, the health care is free. Standardized, but free. Dental care is free. Gym membership … well, you get the idea. And when you go off on … ahem … non-localized meet and greets, they give you a little extra money (you know, to help offset your troubles). In fact, I’ll tell you a secret. I was told (twice, on two different tours) that the dollar amount that matched the hazards I lived in and amongst were worth less that $250 a month. And these weren’t nice hazards, guys. These were some pretty hazardous hazards. So hazardous in fact that some people even died.

I know, right?

Now, this blog isn’t to whine about my service. I’m not offering myself up to martyrdom. I chose to do what I did, and I’m proud of where I’ve been and the things I’ve accomplished. My love, however, ends there.

My GI Bill is giving me some trouble. I’ve applied and been accepted to the University of Maryland, and am now working on enrolling in the summer semester. I’ve filled out the necessary forms to have the school paid. The problem is, it doesn’t pay right away. And to take a full course load … well, let’s just go ahead and assume that I need that 87 bazillion dollars to take care of my baby, and do not have it to throw willy nilly at a college. Even upon explaining this to the nice people at the VA, they weren’t very conducive to my educational neediness. While I understand that they want to ensure that I’ve enrolled and all, it’s kinda sorta my money. Seriously. I paid for it for the first three years of my service. And then I kept being a Soldier. You remember, with all the hazards and stuff?
But wait, there’s more.

The all powerful they have come up with a new plan called the “Post 9-11 GI Bill”. This is set up so that people like me can receive educational benefits determined on their service … well … Post 9-11. Duh. Due to my eight-year need to wear green and see every country that ends in “stan,” I exceed their charts, and am entitled to 100 percent tuition coverage. Under the current plan, that’d be it. You put your butt in a seat, and your tuition is covered. Plus, you get a living stipend, which is super. You can still use distance learning, however, you’re not entitled to the living stipend.

But there are these Senators, see, who think that’s crap. (Yeaaa, Senators!)

They think that it’s unfair to limit veterans to the type of education they can receive. They are fighting for those who may live outside of the conceivably drive to school radius, who may be unable to drive to school, or those who … I dunno, have six-month-old babies?

I hope no one reads this and is upset because this seemed like an educational article. It’s not, and I never intended for it to be. I’m just busting my butt to get into school and better myself, and the government seems to be a little weirded out by that. This isn’t an educational article. Just an article about my education.

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