July 11, 2012

Back to School

College of Southern Idaho Golden Eagles
It is 98% official: I'm going back to school.  A couple of weeks agos I was informed about VRAP (Veterans Retraining Assistance Program), and wouldn't you know, I qualify:
     -Are at least 35 but no more than 60 years old
     -Are unemployed on the date of application
     -Received an other than dishonorable discharge
     -Are not be eligible for any other VA education benefit program (e.g.: the Post-9/11 GI Bill, Montgomery GI Bill, Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Assistance)
     -Are not in receipt of VA compensation due to unemployability
     -Are not enrolled in a federal or state job training program 
I sent off my enrollment paperwork and was simultaneously accepted into the program and denied at the same time.

My mistake was putting that I'd go back to Boise State University.  Some of the caveats for the program:
"Participants must be enrolled in a VA approved program of education offered by a community college or technical school. The program must lead to an Associate Degree, Non-College Degree, or a Certificate, and train the Veteran for a high demand occupation."

Whoops......BSU doesn't count.  I had to find a different school with an acceptable program.  I spent a day trying to look for technical schools and community colleges.  The tech schools were right out because of the expense involved.  I was surprised at how much those schools are.  Our local community college, the College of Western Idaho, didn't have much for a class schedule.  They advertise that they have plenty of night and weekend courses, but when I went through their course catalog I found maybe 3 evening courses.

After spending a couple hours on this search I stumbled across the College of Southern Idaho.  They had plenty of online courses and my county is as far West as they go.  At first trying to find a degree of study in a "high demand occupation" was a fruitless effort.  First of all, the list of occupations don't exactly line up with degree programs.

I ended up working a bit backwards.  I took a look at classes I wanted to take, saw what was available online, and then figured out what program had those classes.  Eventually I stumbled upon the perfect cross-section in Library Science.  Even if I don't manage to finish my AA, which would be my fourth degree, I'd get to take classes I liked and would have taken on their own.

All I have to do is finish up some paperwork for the school and the VA, enroll in classes, and I'm set!

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