The kind people of Wisconsin are in the process of doing a really neat thing for their veterans. They're going to make sure returning vets can afford to get college degrees at a tuition reduced rate of about 50 percent free at their Universities and State Technical Colleges. Way to go Wisconsin!
Now if California universities would just do the same thing. Can you imagine what the infusion to the entrepreneurial community economy would be if the Stanford Graduate Business School,or USC's biz school followed Wisconsin's lead?
So how out of touch are c colleges here in the west with veteran's educational needs. doing the background for a story I wanted to write about the Stanford Graduate Business School. I asked an official of that prestigious institution "if they had any vets among their current students"
She paused a second and came back with "ah, no, I think most would be in graduate biology or medical programs"
"No," i screamed "veterans-- people who have served in the armed forces."
She was completely taken aback. "Why would we know that?"
"Why, indeed, since you're so out of touch with reality that your grads have pissed away hundreds of millions in risk capital without generating one cent of honest return!" I wanted to yell.
Obviously, I have an ax to grind. I got out of the service one morning at about 0830 and was sitting in class in a pair of new Levis and a tie-dyed shirt by 1 P.M. of the same day. three years later I was a newly minted college graduate and hard at work at my first "degree-required" job. What I really remember about my college experience was how many of my professors were themselves veterans-- including one who had served on an unterzee boat in the WWII German Kreigsmarine. Most of my professors grokked the importance of college education for returning veterans and passed that along to many of their students.
Over the years, I've read a lot about veterans as college students and how motivated they are to complete college educations. but the one problem for most returning-to-college vets is the cost of tuition-- the GI Bill didn't come close to covering tuition for my generation and I was of an age and socio-economic status where getting help from the parental units wasn't an option. So, I just buckled down,cinched up my belt and pulled myself up by the boot straps, exactly as my generation's father and uncles did after WWII and Korea. The economic returns from the GI Bill are staggering.
Excluding hospital administration and related costs, the education of our veterans in colleges cost tens of millions a year (after the fist great influx over discharged vets --following WWII and Korea) but over its near 40-year life, but it pumped more than $40 trillion back into the economy (according to the Veteran's Administration). That's one hell of a return on an investment. And in my experience, the difference a GI Bill-financed college education made in my life, and in my children's lives is even more dramatic. Both of my children have gone on to college thanks to the difference in my earning power made possible by an education paid for in part by the GI Bill. To put a point on it, because I graduated from college, I was able to earn enough money to help my kids with tuition and living expenses. This means the neither my son nor my daughter began their adult lives encumbered by crushing student loan debt.
That's far different than one of my best friends who has two daughters on scholarship in the University of California system. When each of his kids get their sheepskin, they will also face up to about $45,000 in debt. Yikes!
The only debt I had when I graduated college was $15 I had just charged on a Union 76 credit card to fill up the gas tank on my '62, V 8-powered, two-door Impala. O'Rale!--Jim Forbes, 05/19/2006