More U.S. veterans are using their GI benefits to return to school, and community colleges seem to be the institution of choice. At Hagerstown Community College, veteran enrollment is up 41 percent for the fall semester, from 80 in 2008 to 113 in 2009.
Most of these new students are taking advantage of the new Post-9/11 GI Bill, which went into effect in August. It includes tuition and fees, housing and book stipends, tutoring fees and relocation costs.
"This bill is definitely generating a lot of interest," said Gloria Hughes, HCC enrollment assistant in charge of veterans' benefits. "Veterans can return to school and not worry about where the money is coming from."
With the increase in veteran students, HCC recently formed a Student Veterans Organization, which is open to any student who has served in the U.S. armed forces. The group plans to apply for national recognition through the National Veterans Organization.Â