Value of My Military Experience and Continued Education
Though it has been nearly 30 years since I wore a military uniform in the U.S. Army’s 534th MP unit at Fort Clayton in the Panama Canal Zone, some days it seems almost like yesterday. I am very proud of my service as an NCO and thankful for the friends and mentors that I met along the way. Recently, I had an opportunity to complete a tandem jump with the U.S. Army Golden Knights, and I must say that as an Army veteran, it does not get much better than that. Their level of professionalism and focus on safety that day was second to none and provided me with a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
After this adventure, I began thinking about my time in the military and what I have been able to accomplish along the way. The one thing that holds true is that I owe a lot of thanks to the U.S. Army, not only for what they taught me while I was on active duty, but also for the opportunity to continue my education using my Army educational benefits as a civilian. Without the educational benefits, I would not have achieved my goal of earning an advanced degree. Today, I have my doctorate and continue to use the skills I learned in the classroom every day.
I highly encourage active military and veterans to consider the benefits of going back to school. You’ve served your country and earned your educational benefits. In today’s competitive job market, pursuing your higher education is imperative, and your degree in combination with your military experience will set you apart from a broad pool of applicants. You’ll likely find, more so than you imagine, that your military experience carries directly into the classroom.
Many educational assistance programs are available for active duty military members and veterans, so I would encourage you to research the ways in which you can make your dream of going to college a reality.
There are quite a few opportunities readily available to help you pursue your educational goals. Some of these funding opportunities could include Military Tuition Assistance, the Post-911 GI Bill, the Montgomery GI Bill, Reserve Educational Assistance, and Herzing’s Military Appreciation Grant, just to name a few. Sometimes, depending on the university you attend, there are military driven initiatives or programs. For example, Herzing offers two unique military initiatives – Vet2RN and Vet2IT – that are designed to factor specific military experience into nursing and information technology degrees.
Another military funding opportunity is the Yellow Ribbon Program, which allows higher-education institutions to fund fees and tuition that exceed the amounts payable under the Post-911 GI Bill for eligible veterans. You can learn more about the Yellow Ribbon Program at www.gibill.va.gov.
Your military experiences have given you a solid foundation to build upon, and the team at Herzing University is here to help you with your next move. As a Herzing University employee and a veteran, I am proud of what we do to serve veterans and active duty military each and every day. To find out how Herzing can assist you, please visit herzing.edu/military or call 1-844-VET-FIRST.
Dr. Michael Bankey is the Vice President of Community Partnerships and Veteran Affairs at Herzing University