Vets should take advantage of GI Bill

Many of Wisconsin’s military veterans in the private and public workforces are finding it difficult to progress in their careers. The economy has created stagnation in the entire labor market and many are reluctant to risk their secure position with a move or a venture to new opportunity and greater pay and benefits. Upward mobility within organizations is affected by this stagnation and the only solution is usually cross-training, recertification or increased post-secondary education.

Wisconsin military veterans have a benefit available to them they can all explore to help them find greater opportunity and increased financial security in today’s labor market.

The Wisconsin GI Bill provides any Wisconsin military veteran with an “honorable” discharge with up to 128 credits or 8 semesters at any Wisconsin Technical College System or University of Wisconsin System school. This is tuition remission; the school waives tuition and some certain academic-related fees.

The WI GI Bill covers all levels of degree-related education programs in all formats of study. As well, this is a lifetime benefit and has no expiration date.

Recently, Addie Tamboli, of Portage, inquired about her eligibility for the WI GI Bill. In an email to the Columbia County Veteran Service Officer CVSO, she wrote: “I was at UW-Baraboo on Friday to discuss going back to school for my bachelor’s. While there, I was introduced to Steve Paske, the veterans’ coordinator. He suggested that I contact you to determine what, if any, educational benefits I may have.”

Initially, Tamboli thought that she had no veterans’ education benefits since her active-duty military service was limited to “active-duty for training” at Fort Leonard Wood in the Army Reserves in 1995. After some discussion with the CVSO, it was determined that her “uncharacterized” discharge for her service was also erroneous and should be corrected by the Army. The CVSO advised her that once her discharge was properly corrected her military service then qualified her for pursuing her aspirations for an undergraduate degree.

To say the least Tamboli was very happy. “Honestly, it came as a shock that I would even qualify and I was quite humbled. My mother actually cried. The WI GI Bill has made a longtime, personal goal attainable. It has been extremely helpful to have the CVSO office and UW-Baraboo work so closely together to assist me in navigating through the process. I am especially thankful to Columbia County’s service officer, Rich Hasse. Had it not been for his persistence in the modification of my discharge paperwork, I would not have been eligible to accept the generosity the state of Wisconsin has bestowed upon its’ veterans.”

Any veteran interested in discovering more about the WI GI Bill and how this benefit could better their career opportunities and increase their future financial security should contact their CVSO. In Columbia County, you can reach your CVSO at 742-9618.

Publication: 
Portage Daily Register
Publication Date: 
Wednesday, March 26, 2014