The UNC System hosted the federal government’s top Veterans Affairs official yesterday. V.A. Secretary Eric Shinseki met with UNC leaders to discuss expanding higher education opportunities for military veterans.
Several UNC system schools have long and proud histories of educating military veterans. And as General Shinseki pointed out, veterans have a lot to offer the universities and the state of North Carolina as students and employees.
"They are disciplined," said Shinseki. "They know the value of time. They can focus on a project clear of distraction. Quite skilled in that way."
But as military-friendly as North Carolina is, the state’s policy toward granting in-state tuition to active-duty and military veterans has some flaws. Last year, a veteran sued the UNC system after being denied in-state tuition status at UNC Pembroke.
UNC system President Tom Ross says that issue was discussed at the roundtable with General Shinseki. He says a solution for veterans is currently in the state house budget.
"It is something we feel would be very beneficial to veterans," said Ross. "But it would also be very beneficial to the university and to the state to help those folks get educated here."
The V.A. currently spends about $27 million a day in education grants across the country as part of its post 9-11 GI Bill.