Chair Patty Murray: [. . .Y]ou mentioned about our newest student veterans needing to be able to get accurate information and have realistic expectations about the academic programs they choose so they can make their best choices about how to use their GI Bill benefits. As this Committee looks at this issue in the coming months, I want to ask you what are some of the key points that we should keep in mind as we look at this?
Richard DeNoyer: We need to provide veteran students with a clear understanding of what colleges offer and what their requirements are and what the requirements of the school are? It seems that many are using the GI Bill for the 21st Century and are not aware of their requirements before they get into school. They are not aware of graduation requirements, curriculum requirements and it would be our recommendation to have a centralized office that they could go to to get this information and that would be one of the solutions that we would encourage to do that.
Chair Patty Murray: Okay I appreciate that because I want to make sure --
Richard DeNoyer: That would help the state approving agencies also with their jurisdiction over colleges and so forth.
I could be wrong here, but from that and other things, I had the feeling that the VFW doesn't really get college today.
It's not uniform. If I go to college in Georgia, I'm likely not going to have the same requirements as in Iowa.
Let me give you one example, phys ed. If you don't play a college sport, you may be steered into a phys ed. And there are some colleges that will tell you that you have to take it and 4 semesters of it and blah, blah blabh. But if you're over 30, you find out you don't. That's just one of the ways colleges screw the young people they need to stay in business.
I'm not really sure what the panic is that after you enroll the first time you learn you didn't do it right. I think that is the college experience.
There seems to be this idea that you can look at the schedule and just pick classes. That's not really how it works. You've got required courses and electives. On your required courses, there are some that, for your major, may only come around once every two years. Which means you need to grab that when it's first offered.
There are all these variables and, from what I heard in the hearing, that's what the VFW thought could be controlled. It can't be.
If the VA's informing veterans of how much allowance they get and how much tuition and for how long, great.
But don't mistake the VA for your faculty advisor.
And also grasp that some veterans just need to start college. They've had enough thrown at them. They don't want to declare a major before they've gotten through a semseter. And they shouldn't be forced to.
The VA should give guidance about the benefits and that's really all they're qualified for.
There was talk in the hearing about how they could help steer to schools friendly to veterans -- b.s.
It's not happening.
My best college friend was Max. (Max is still a good friend, I'm just not in college anymore.) And we took a lot of the same courses. And when you ask Max, Dr. Chan was awful and mean and totally not worth studying for and blah blah. But ask me and Dr. Chan was clear cut, was very precise, gave lively lectures and his exams were something I looked forward to. On Professor Nelson, we'd flip again.
That's because people are different.
Now Max didn't like Dr. Chan. If Max were a veteran and had that problem, Max might assume the issue was Dr. Chan didn't like veterans. And maybe he'd be right and maybe he'd be wrong. But the point is, it's too subjective.
And the VA doesn't need to be getting into those gray areas.
Now here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"