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New GI Bill Prompts Michigan Universities To Target Marines In San Diego

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Aired 5/13/10

Representatives from universities in Michigan are in San Diego this week to recruit military veterans. The new G.I. Bill has made veterans an emerging market for academic recruiters, and San Diego has one of the highest populations of active duty military and veterans in the nation.

Representatives from universities in Michigan are in San Diego this week to recruit military veterans. The new G.I. Bill has made veterans an emerging market for academic recruiters, and San Diego has one of the highest populations of active duty military and veterans in the nation.

Marines and sailors attend an event at MCAS Miramar on May 12, 2010, put on by recruiters from 10 state universities in Michigan.
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Above: Marines and sailors attend an event at MCAS Miramar on May 12, 2010, put on by recruiters from 10 state universities in Michigan.

Matthew Van Ens has served in the Marine Corps for five years but he’s ready to start thinking about his next career move, back in his home state.

"Eventually, I’d like to go back to Michigan and go to school, get a business degree and then open up my own company," he said.

Van Ens says the new G.I. Bill will pay a total of $18,000 in tuition and a housing allowance. He came to an event at MCAS Miramar, where officials from 10 state universities in Michigan promoted their academic opportunities. Michigan has seen a drop in college enrollment due to the poor economy.

General Michael Lehnert, former head of Marine Corp Installations West, initiated the event. He says he worked with Cal State Universities while he was based at Camp Pendleton to capture as many veterans as possible for California. Then he retired to Michigan.

"Many of our veterans want to go back to where they came from," Lehnert said. "And we got to thinking, well, perhaps if they brought the universities to them, they could get started while they are still on active duty."

Lehnert says it’s daunting for young vets to know where to start when they first return home.

Staff at the Veterans’ Center at SDSU say the Cal State campus has not yet seen an increase in veterans enrolling in spite of the increase in higher education money for vets. A spokesperson says they may be going to Community College first.

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