May 25, 2005
June 14 is Flag Day and just so happens to be the 230th anniversary of the United States Army. The timing is good for a reminder to veterans in this region about their educational benefits that oftentimes go unused. HACC, Central Pennsylvania's Community College, encourages all veterans interested in learning about the educational benefits available to them to attend a career information session on Tuesday, June 14, from 6 to 8 p.m. on the college's Harrisburg Campus. Held on the second floor of the Cooper Student Center and in the Alumni Lounge, Room 204, the session is open to all veterans, members of the National Guard and Reserves.

On hand to discuss opportunities and provide career-planning assistance will be representatives from HACC's offices for Military and Veteran's Affairs, Entrepreneurship, Health Careers, Financial Aid and the Veterans Resource Central, a newly formed referral service.

"What we're trying to do is get veterans to use their GI Bill benefits. We want them to get some kind of education with that benefit and not let it go to waste," explains Jeff Culp, coordinator of Military and Veterans Affairs. "HACC has the second largest number of veterans in the state attending college under the GI Bill.

As a community college, we have the types of classes that adult learners can benefit from-evening, weekend, online and video courses."

The failure of many veterans to use their GI Bill benefits before they expire was featured in a recent issue of The Chronicle of Higher Education. The May 13, 2005 article, "GI Blues," noted that "over the last decade, only 52,000 of 641,000 eligible veterans who had signed up for GI Bill tuition benefits from 1985 through 1994, a mere 8 percent, used their full benefit during the 10-year limit following their discharge. In exchange for having $1,200 withheld from their first year military salaries, active-duty soldiers become eligible after completing their enlistment term (three years, on average) for up to $36,144 toward their education expenses."

Veterans interested in learning if they have any education benefit remaining can call the Department of Veterans Affairs, Buffalo Regional Processing Office, at 888-442-4551. This number is for verification of education benefits only.

There is no registration necessary for the June 14 information session. However, for more information veterans may call HACC at 717-780-2331.

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