For many veterans, going back to school is an essential step he or she wants to take in order to increase their education and ability to be hired as a way to significantly improve their lives.
Thousands of veterans attend classes on campuses throughout the country, including here at Texas A&M that is well-known for encouraging its veteran student population and being prepared to assist local veterans with their ongoing education.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic has affected campus learning, many student veterans are having a particularly challenging time keeping up.
As great of an option as online learning may be for many students to continue their education while campuses are closed, it has not been an easy adjustment for many veterans.
A Switch to Online Learning
Online learning is a piece of cake for the typical college student who has grown up in a largely online world.
Many of them already prefer online learning, so the switch to all online learning due to the pandemic has been an adjustment but not really a problem.
On the other hand, research on the topic shows that student veterans choose classroom learning intentionally and for many significant reasons.
Many simply don’t feel as comfortable doing everything on a computer screen and learn better in a live classroom situation.
The problem for others is no access to a powerful enough computer to do the online classes with or only partial access to a reliable and safe internet connection.
Online Learning Difficulties for Student Vets
The switch to online learning has essentially put a halt in the progression of many veterans' education.
Others yet are struggling to find enough quiet hours in the day to login to their online classes since family life has also changed dramatically since the start of the pandemic.
Entire families are at home now, with parents dealing with all-day childcare and online learning for the kids, who take priority of course.
It’s become impossible for some veterans to complete their own lessons.
Financial Strains Adding to Education Worries
In addition to the new challenges that switching from classroom learning to online lessons is creating for some student veterans, another significant concern that many are facing is financial strain.
Due to job losses, reductions in work hours, and unexpected expenses that many veterans are now facing, paying for their continued education is becoming more difficult every day.
A recent survey of student veterans showed that 90% are concerned that the pandemic will affect their educational goals if it has not already.
The GI Bill helps many student veterans enroll in school; however, the amount paid is a fixed amount that does not necessarily cover personal obligations which just about every veteran has.
Additionally, there is much concern about the job market and whether graduating student veterans with educational expenses to pay will be able to find jobs in their chosen fields of study.
Helping Student Veterans Get Through COVID-19
Fortunately, these concerns are being recognized by many and efforts are underway to ease them, at least somewhat.
Some colleges are finding ways to help by working with their student veteran enrollees to make continuing schooling easier.
Student Veterans of America is partnering with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Veterans Benefits Administration to plan virtual job fairs for vets with veteran-friendly employers.
Along with these supporters, veteran support groups like Brazos Valley Cares continue to play a critical role in helping local veterans, including student veterans, survive in these unique times and stay in school.
Yet we can’t do it without the support of donors in our community.
The COVID-19 pandemic has greatly affected BVC’s fundraising efforts while the need for funding has grown.
Please support BVC with a donation so we can continue to help student vets complete their educational goals so they may have the amazing life all of our veterans deserve!