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Are you a veteran? The government wants to give you up to $80,000 to go to school

The move is part of the recently-released federal budget
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Veterans will be eligible for up to $80,000 to pay for college, university or technical education under a program announced this morning by the federal government.

Veterans Affairs Minister Kent Hehr made the announcement at Georgian College.

"If education truly is the great equalizer, as I believe it to be, being the son of two school teachers, then this new Education and Training Benefit will be a game changer for Canada's Veterans and their families," Hehr told a news conference. 

The new measures in budget  2017 involve redesigning career transition services so more people can make use of them including survivors, spouses and partners.

"They'll have access to coaching for job search, labour market assessments, information on education and training requirements to reach their career goals. All from coaches who understand military culture," explained Hehr. 

The new education and training benefit introduced will help Veterans transition from military careers by returning to school after service.

"Soldiers will have the opportunity to go back to the college or university of their choice within ten years of release from the military.  It will cover up to $40,000 in tuition and other costs for members who have served six years and $80,000 for members who have served 12," said Hehr.

"If college or university isn't the right option, $5,000 benefit is available for professional development.  If you want to become a real estate broker, something to that affect."

Georgian College President and CEO MaryLynn West-Moynes told the crowd Georgian has many students with a military background.

"I cannot think of a better investment in the individuals who have invested in our country than the investment you are making," said West-Moynes. 

Several veterans who are already attending Georgian College attended the announcement.

Bob Munroe, who served 36 years in the Canadian Forces, was a bit leery about applauding the news just yet.

"A little. It helps. Every little bit that they're giving veterans is a positive thing. Before I make an opinion on anything I have to read what's out there," said Munroe, 59.

"The biggest problem with people retiring now is the wait that they have between when you retire to when you get your pension.  It's horrendous. I know people who had to wait seven months. Myself I waited just short of five months and it caused hardship."

Munroe and fellow veteran Bob Hurley, 58,  are both set to graduate next week from Georgian's Digital Photography program.

"I joined right out of high school in 1977 and I served 38 years three months and two weeks in the regular force," said Hurley. 

"It is a tough transition from military to civilian. Education is important so while we get trained in the military a lot of our skills aren't necessarily transferable so if we can come back to college and learn new marketable skills I think that's awesome."

Honorary Colonel Jamie Massie has already established scholarships for Canadian Forces personnel family members. 

"I think the announcement this morning creating more pathways for our veterans and Canadian Forces personnel to be able to attend institutions like Georgian college is phenomenal," said Massie.

The government allotted $133.9 million over six years to create the new Veterans' Education and Training Benefit.

"We ask the men and women of this county to do the heavy lifting for us on the front line when they join the Canadian forces and we are committed to ensuring they receive the support they need afterwards," said Hehr.

 

 

 

 



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Sue Sgambati

About the Author: Sue Sgambati

Sue has had a 30-year career in journalism working for print, radio and TV. She is a proud member of the Barrie community.
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