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At Palomar College the projected annual cost for tuition, books, living expenses, transportation and other essentials for a full time student is $14,500. Veterans returning to our campus are receiving approximately 65% or less (if a Reservist) of the needed financial support. And the percentage of support will decline further when costs increase as students transfer to public or private four-year institutions.

These factors have created a situation where many veterans who want to go to a college or technical school cannot get the assistance they need. It is for these heroes, who honorably served our nation that the ‘Education for Heroes Fund’ exists. The Fund will help bridge the benefits gap for as many individuals as possible. The fund will provide support for these veterans and insure they have the financial wherewithal to achieve their educational goals.

Further, it is designed to insure eligible military family members have access to funds to assist them to get an education. The fund will also assist active duty members who have served in Iraq or Afghanistan combat areas or indirect support of the war in those theaters of operation to pay for any educational expenses not covered by active duty educational benefits. Students must pursue a transfer program to a 4 year university, associate degree or a vocational certificate. We will support as many as we possibly can, giving them a chance to fulfill their dream of a higher education.

The Servicemen's Readjustment Act of 1944, commonly known as the G.I. Bill of Rights, promised a college degree to every veteran who wanted to study. Eight million Americans, many of whom had never dreamed of going to college, have been able to pay for the college or university of their choice.

Fifty-three years after this landmark pledge, tens of thousands of Americans are fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. The sacrifices of these brave men and women in combat imbue the honored moniker of ‘Veteran’ with a special meaning. Because the GI Bill has not kept pace with the rising costs of education, the current situation requires additional support from o ur community to ensure these individuals who have served will indeed find a way to earn their diploma with dignity and pride.

The maximum yearly benefit available through the current GI Bill (to active duty veterans) is $9,675 or $38,700 over 4 years. Unlike those who served in the Army, Marines, Air Force, or Navy, National Guardsmen’s’ and Reservists’ education benefits are cut off once they separate from the service. Even while serving their contract with the military, Guardsmen and Reservists are only entitled to $3,960 a year in benefits.

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