Every fall, millions of students stream into college classrooms across the United States with the goal of one day entering the workforce with a degree in hand. Scattered among these bright young minds are thousands of veterans transitioning into civilian life.
There are 800,000 veterans and family members taking advantage of the educational benefits from the GI Bill of Rights, says Student Veterans of American (SVA). For many of those veterans the path back to higher education can be paved with many challenges.
“Going from the very structured military environment to the extremely unstructured campus college environment is challenging,” said Matthew Feger, director of development for SVA. “Just being older and having those very different life experiences -- then sitting in a classroom next to an 18-year old just coming from high school can be very difficult.”
Combining these challenges with the visible and invisible wounds of war, a college degree can feel like an impossible dream for men and women returning from military service.
“The whole goal of SVA is to provide services and resources that will enable and empower student veterans to graduate with market value degrees,” said Feger.
On average, veterans face an unemployment rate of 9.8 percent, and that figure jumps to nearly 20 percent for female veterans. Organizations like SVA were founded to assist veterans who want to pursue higher education and move the employment odds further in their favor.
On November 11, 2012 Raytheon and SVA joined forces to empower student veterans to reach their higher education goals. Raytheon presented SVA with a $50,000 grant which will provide support, mentorship, career guidance and opportunities to service members pursuing higher education degrees.
“Veterans have much to contribute to our nation’s progress. The work SVA has undertaken ensures greater success rates for veterans and for the life missions they will lead,” said Pam Erickson, Raytheon’s vice president of Community Relations.