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Military becoming popular way to fund college education

As high school seniors look toward Christmas vacation and a new year, they will naturally be excited about their upcoming graduation. The assemblies announcing scholarships and other recognitions are just around the corner. Soon they will don cap and gown, walk into the stadium to the ceremonial “Pomp and Circumstance,” and enjoy their graduation ceremony. With diploma in hand, now what?
The ideal time to prepare for that moment was throughout their school years. Grades and accomplishments reveal a pattern about an individual. These are essentials for an employer, or for getting accepted into college or other higher education.
Besides the academic qualifications, there are the financial considerations. With businesses cutting back and layoffs increasing, it is becoming harder to save money for schooling.
Consider serving your country.
“A few, very few, will get a scholarship – and fewer a full ride scholarship. I want to talk to the other 99 percent,” said Jim Rippy. He has introduced the new G.I. Bill information to high schools throughout northern Missouri.
Rippy said there are a few ways to fund schooling: through parents that have saved for it, grandparents, student loans, grants, and/or working full time while going to college full time (or part time).
If you are lucky, you have a college fund, but many students do not have that luxury. Student loans must be applied for and repaid, usually taking many years. Grants take a great deal of research and paperwork. Many just get discouraged and opt to work at a job for minimum wage.
To work full time and try to go to school is often, “the best way I know to be a first year drop-out,” said Rippy. “Many think ‘might as well just go to work for six bucks an hour and get it over with.”
This summer, Pres. Bush and Congress passed the new G.I. Bill for the 21st Century.
The benefits apply to post 9-11 veterans and will take effect August 2009.
“It’s a simple deal, you do a three year hitch in any of the five branches of service and, with no contribution of your own, when you are only 21, you will get: full tuition at any state college, including Missouri University, up to $1,000 per month for living expenses or tutoring, and up to $1,000 per year for books and materials. Now that’s a full ride,” Rippy declared. “It’s your decision. You can spend Mom and Dad’s money, and everything that comes with that, or do it on yourself, on your own.”
Rippy closed by saying, “I will promise you one thing I know to be true. Every veteran I have ever met is proud of his or her service to America.” Changing a quote by Pres. Ronald Reagan just a bit, he said, “People drift through life wondering if they made a difference. A veteran never has to ask.”

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