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Military Education Strategies

About Military Education Benefits

One of the things that draw people to serve in the military is the military education benefit. Service members have a range of tuition assistance programs available to them while in active duty, and also education benefits available when they become veterans. In some cases active duty service members will use their “GI bill” education benefits.

Many of these same education benefits are also available to members of the military reserves and members of the National Guard. As the National Guard is supported by individual states, these service members may get education benefits from both the state and the Federal government.

Military Education benefits are not endless; they have a defined limit and different levels of eligibility. The number of programs and the limitations and eligibility requirements can be confusing, so the military supports these potential students with education offices staffed by full time counselors (Education Service Officers). Major bases have dedicated ESO’s and often have classroom facilities in an education center where local universities come to teach courses.

It is estimated that 140,000 people leave active duty each year and with proposed reductions in force in 2012, that number could rise substantially. Over 270,000 people used their military education benefits during 2010; so military student recruiting is an important component to many universities enrollment strategies.

Advising Prospective Military Students

For the student, Military Education benefits should be treated like a personal asset that can be used to their advantage or squandered (whether by using the benefits ineffectively, or just not using them at all).  Understanding what benefits are available to service members and how to use them is a task assigned to the ESO’s. But the military education system lacks the resources to effectively reach all service members with this critical assistance, and many members of the military are left to navigate these complicated programs on their own. Unfortunately, many simply choose to let the benefits go unused because they’re unsure how to get started. In addition, for those who do take action to start using their benefits, the next step of finding the right accredited military-friendly school to attend can be just as difficult. Additional assistance for service members wanting to pursue a college degree is desperately needed in the military higher education space.

Meeting this need is the fundamental driver behind a business called Essential Knowledge. It’s an education company with more than 30 years of experience serving members of the military community. Their exclusive focus is helping service members and military spouses understand their education benefits so they can pursue a worthwhile college degree. This is all done face-to-face with service members nationwide, their representatives attending events by invitation of military leadership to provide information and motivation for those interested in higher education. Part of their offering is a free school matching service that can recommend and connect interested service members with colleges and universities that meet their needs. This creates a unique lead generation opportunity for truly military-friendly schools seeking to enroll more members within the military community.

Finding Quality Military Student Leads

For schools, especially those offering online degree programs, subscribing to Essential Knowledge’s lead generation service is a great way to connect with prospective students ready to use their military education benefits.

InternetCarbon is working with Essential Knowledge in helping schools and their online degree partners develop effective strategies to turn these leads into successful students. Working with service members requires a deep understanding of the processes behind these programs and a willingness to help the prospective students through what at times seems an insurmountable level of red tape. To bring in military students, schools need to be prepared to waive certain admissions requirements, modify tuition deposits and take the initiative to get some of the eligibility requirements met. It is these processes that InternetCarbon can assist in altering and in training the admissions staff assigned to work with prospective military students.

Making Your University A Truly Military Friendly School

Many schools claim they are “military friendly”, a number have even subscribed to the yellow ribbon program, but often this is more hype and a marketing tactic than actual professional practice. Putting a yellow ribbon on your ads and web sites and having a veteran in your admissions and financial aid office is not an effective military education strategy. Those that succeed in this market have comprehensive strategies from finding the prospect, communicating in their language, processing their application (their way not necessarily yours), admitting them with government friendly processes and orienting and preparing them in an appropriate manner.

Further training and orientation may also be needed in the course administration and teaching of military students. Military students have been trained to be mission focused and are known to be persistent, goal-oriented students. They have by nature of this training, a different learning style that if harnessed, can be of huge benefit to the student and the class.

InternetCarbon can work with schools to make sure their pledge of being military friendly is just that – military friendly. We’ll review your current practices and provide an assessment as to your level of military friendliness. Our consultants report will help identify areas of improvement and set you on a path to better compete in this growing market.

If you are interested in learning more about building a winning military education strategy, please contact InternetCarbon for more information.

Lead Consultant

Mark Shay

The driving force behind InternetCarbon is Mark Shay, a serial entrepreneur who has created, built and in several cases sold Internet-based and educationally related businesses. Read more for just a sampling of enterprises Shay brought to life...

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Memberships and Organizations

Mark has just completed his term on the Board of Directors of AIRC - the American International Recruitment Council - an organization he is still very active with.  Mark is  a member of AIEA's Fund Raising Task Force.

He is an individual member or participant in the efforts of AIEA, NAGAP, NAFSA, Council of Graduate Schools, NACAC, AACRAO and UPCEA.

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