Veterans returning to civilian life after service may decide to attend a post-secondary school to further expand their career choices after the military. This opportunity not only improves the chance of getting a good job but can also make the transition out of service much easier by acting as a “soft landing.”
Attending classes, joining study groups, and collaborating with peers can offer veterans a way to ease back into normal life, rather than jumping right into a new career. While the federal government offers some assistance through the Post 9/11 G.I. Bill which provides financial support for post-secondary education and housing, the state of West Virginia offers veterans additional benefits on returning to school after service for both West Virginia residents and out-of-state veterans.
All public institutions of higher education in the state participate in the Yellow Ribbon G.I. Education Enhancement Program, also known as the “Bridging the Gap” program, which provides additional funds where expenses exceed the amount provided by the federal G.I. Bill.
The state of West Virginia also offers the Veterans Re-education Assistance Program to veterans who have exhausted their G.I Bill benefit, which can reduce the financial burdens caused by returning to school. It offers a stipend of up to $500 per semester. This stipend can also be used toward vocational and non-traditional education programs on a case-by-case basis.
West Virginia also offers three unique programs which assist veterans and their dependents, with their educational endeavors. First, any veteran having received a Medal of Honor or a Purple Heart will have all tuition and mandatory fees waived from any institution of higher education in the state of West Virginia.
Second, veterans having served in World War II, Korea, or Vietnam who were unable to graduate from high school due to service during those conflicts may receive a diploma from either the county school they originally attended or from the county in which they currently reside.
Finally, though not for veterans specifically, the spouse and children of veterans in war service or who die because of a service-connected injury may qualify for the War Orphan Education Program. All tuition and fees will be waved from and state post-secondary education or training institutions. Students in this program will also receive a stipend of up to $1,000 per semester to assist with the cost of room, board, books, etc.
These programs give veterans an opportunity to further their education to create better opportunities in civilian life.
Anyone with questions regarding these educational opportunities can visit our website at https://veterans.wv.gov. You can also reach out to your local Benefits Office for more details.