The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has fixed a flaw that excluded Seminole State and 22 other Florida College System institutions from offering The Veterans Retraining Assistance Program (VRAP).
VRAP, which started July 1, is designed to help veterans ages 35 to 60 receive training toward a degree or certificate in high-demand areas. The VA’s previous criteria had deemed institutions such as Seminole State that award four-year degrees to be ineligible.
“The goal of VRAP is to retrain pre-9/11 vets for new high-demand jobs,” says Veterans Affairs Specialist Jose Toro. “The program is geared to veterans who depleted their education benefits 15 or 20 years ago or maybe worked in a job that doesn’t exist anymore.”
Like the regular GI Bill, VRAP will provide a monthly stipend to help with educational expenses, Toro says. “However, VRAP is temporary – veterans have until March 31, 2013, to apply for VRAP benefits.”
Seminole State offers more than 25 career or professional programs that have been approved as high-demand fields by the U.S. Department of Labor, Toro says. Among them are construction, automotive technology, legal studies, early childhood education, computer support, nursing and other healthcare professions, law enforcement and firefighting.
To use the VRAP at Seminole State College, students must be accepted into the college under an approved program and bring a copy of their certificate of eligibility (VRAP approval letter) to a college Veterans Affairs Office to request an enrollment certification.
“The VA is now accepting VRAP applications,” Toro says, “so it’s best to apply to Seminole State and to the VA at the same time.”
The Veterans Affairs website for VRAP is www.ebenefits.va.gov.
Seminole State College offers Veterans Affairs services on all four of its campuses. These Veterans Affairs Offices are dedicated to providing veterans’ with a one-stop source for securing, interpreting and exercising their VA education benefits. For more information, visit http://www.seminolestate.edu/veterans/, or call 407-708-2242.