Many Veterans Setting Their Sights on Community Colleges

By Chris Hassan
Posted November 15, 2012 11:00 AM

Many veterans turning to community colleges for their learning needs.
Many veterans turning to community colleges for their learning needs.
If community college enrollment numbers are any indication, interest in earning an associate's degree is on the rise in many parts of the country. In Pennsylvania, for example, new student enrollment at Bucks County Community College has increased 5.8%, according to Meanwhile, in Illinois, McHenry County College has seen its fall 2012 enrollment jump 33.9% since fall 2008, the Chicago Daily Herald reports.

Veterans returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan also appear to be adding to community colleges' high enrollment numbers.

Veterans Thrive With Military Benefits

The transition from the military to civilian life is not always easy. However, benefit programs from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, such as the Montgomery GI Bill, can certainly help. This is what veteran Jonathan London, a student enrolled at Arizona's Mohave Community College, has found, according to the Southern Utah News.

When London completed his active and reserve commitments to the U.S. Army in 2004, he ended up working dead-end jobs and dreaming about a better future for both himself and his family. Now that he is enrolled at Mohave, London has a shot at a career he cares about. London is far from the only veteran to go down this path, as enrollment for this population at this particular school has increased by just over 12% between the spring 2012 and fall 2012 semesters.

"We’ve had quite a few new students enroll," Eric Corder, Mohave's veterans service coordinator, told the Southern Utah News. "I see them enroll in a variety of programs including engineering, culinary arts, welding, nursing, dental hygiene and business."

Community College Helps Veterans Ease Into Civilian Life

Iraq and Afghanistan veteran Brian Rorig is among the former service members who have had trouble readjusting to life at home, the Morton Grove Champion reports. However, 30-year-old Rorig has found a new home at Illinois' Oakton Community College.

The institution was recently recognized by G.I. Jobs magazine as being a military-friendly school, and for good reason. Oakton officials have taken steps to attract veterans to their institution and help them understand the education benefits that are available to them. Furthermore, the college's services are not just available to veterans who served in combat.

"Don’t think because you weren’t on the front lines you’re not a veteran," Vince Donahue Jr., the college's veteran and workforce specialist, told the Morton Grove Champion

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