With GI Bill's Billions at Stake, Colleges Compete to Lure Veterans

With GI Bill's Billions at Stake, Colleges Compete to Lure Veterans  With GI Bill's Billions at Stake, Colleges Compete to Lure Veterans 1

David Massey for The Chronicle

Michael Dakduk, a former Marine who is now executive director of Student Veterans of America, kicked out dozens of chapters at for-profit colleges he thought were exploiting SVA to attract veterans. The "veteran friendly" label won't mislead all veterans, he says: "If somebody gets accepted to Johns Hopkins, they won't be deterred because it's not on the veteran-friendly list."

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close With GI Bill's Billions at Stake, Colleges Compete to Lure Veterans  With GI Bill's Billions at Stake, Colleges Compete to Lure Veterans 1

David Massey for The Chronicle

Michael Dakduk, a former Marine who is now executive director of Student Veterans of America, kicked out dozens of chapters at for-profit colleges he thought were exploiting SVA to attract veterans. The "veteran friendly" label won't mislead all veterans, he says: "If somebody gets accepted to Johns Hopkins, they won't be deterred because it's not on the veteran-friendly list."

At the end of eight years in the United States Marine Corps, Paul Szoldra found himself at an impasse. He had just earned an associate degree from the University of Phoenix while stationed in Okinawa, and wanted to use the Post-9/11 GI Bill to go on from there. But when it came to choosing a college, he was stuck.

"I was totally ignorant," he says. "It was awful."

Nobody in Mr. Szoldra's family had gone to college. The sergeant's head swirled with unknowns: What made one