January 26, 2015
Navigating College Life

Photo: Karen Montembeault

Heath Montembeault, USF Student and Intern, AT&T, Tampa

Knowing Yourself

Navigating College Life

Coast Guard veteran makes the most of his benefits.

Ginger Broslat | 11/8/2012

Military veterans who have served and were honorably discharged following the 9/11 attacks have a valuable resource to help them prepare for a career. The Post-9/11 GI Bill provides financial support for education, ranging from graduate and undergraduate degrees to vocational/technical training and several other types of programs.

Without some assistance in accessing and understanding those benefits, however, veterans may find the process confusing — even overwhelming. That’s what U.S. Coast Guard veteran Heath Montembeault discovered when he began college to study Information Management Systems following his discharge in 2010.

Unfortunately, the first school he attended had no mechanism in place to help him understand and access his benefits. “They were as confused as I was,” he says.

When he transferred to the University of South Florida, their VetSuccess program made a huge difference.

“They [USF] have a great, fully dedicated department for veterans,” Heath explains. “They even told me about benefits I didn’t know I had, like health insurance for five years. I also learned I can access benefits to pay for additional certifications after graduation.”

Many Florida schools are investing in services to help veterans access their educational benefits and ease the transition from military to civilian life. Visit your college of choice and ask to speak to a veterans’ services representative.

Tags: Florida Career Connections, Career Choices

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