Our Tuesday blog post addressing the importance of education generated so many great comments and such debate on Facebook that I wanted to continue the conversation. A topic that comes up often when we talk about education, but more specifically as it relates to Veterans, is the difference between for-profit higher education and traditional brick-and-mortar institutions.

Traditional colleges have long been recognized as the example of quality education and the only source for true higher learning. On the other hand, online programs and for-profit schools have grown and greatly improved their reputation. An article put out this month by Inside Higher Ed points out the growing resources that measure effectiveness of the GI Bill funds at colleges nationwide and in that, highlights data that could help Veterans in choosing the right program for them.

The article quotes D. Wayne Robinson, president of Student Veterans of America: “This GI Bill comparison tool is a step toward helping veterans use their federal benefits in a smarter, more economical way.”

For example, let’s look at Liberty University vs. University of Maryland. Liberty has a staggering 45.7% stated graduation rate to UM’s 4.3%. When you start to compare the different schools and total volume and type of student, traditional vs. online, you will mainly note that Public schools have not made much progress in online offerings for adults, including Veterans.

Now, there are many reasons ranging from political to personal for why some institutions see more GI Bill funds than others. Quite frankly, education is an area for arrogance. For those with a degree, it means a lot more than to those that do not have one. Those who attended a traditional college feel that theirs is a superior learning process to online. To those who attended as adults, that is better than fresh out of high school.

Do your research - affordability, education quality, and "fit" are all important factors in choosing a program that is right for you.

As knowledge seekers, we need to think more about fit and life-long learning. The education accreditation associations are the regulating authorities that ensure quality education. Be sure your school is accredited, be comfortable with the school’s reputation and seek programs that you can complete and from which you can learn. There are quality for profits and substandard public schools. Be a wise consumer and student and always be improving experience, skills and education.

To learn more about your options as a student, click here to start utilizing the GI Bill comparison tool.

Explore career opportunities and apply for positions in healthcare at VA Careers.

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Published on Feb. 28, 2014

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