GW veteran speaks in favor of Post-9/11 GI Bill

The D.C. Director of Student Veterans of America and co-founder of GW Veterans Brian Hawthorne voiced support for the Post-9/11 GI Bill Sept. 9.

The bill provides returning veterans help in enrolling and paying for undergraduate and graduate degree programs at many universities nationwide.

“[The Post-9/11 GI Bill] provides veterans the benefit of going to school, but it doesn’t influence the admission decision,” Hawthorne said at the Department of Veterans Affairs. “Almost every school in D.C. has agreements under the bill.”

Veterans must have served at least 90 days of aggregate service after Sept. 11, 2001 to be eligible for the benefits of the bill, which went into effect in August 2009.

GW participates in the Yellow Ribbon Program, which provides full tuition to undergraduate students in the program, and a discount to graduate students who partake in the program as well.

Landon Cassill, a Rookie of the Year NASCAR driver, came to the event to showcase his new Chevy Impala racecar, which promotes the Post-9/11 GI Bill on its doors.

Government officials, veterans and racing fans gathered in front of the building on Vermont Street to take a peek at the new ride.

“I’m so excited to be a part of this program and campaign,” Cassill said following his preview drive. “The Post-9/11 GI Bill is a great way to reach out to veterans returning from war.”

Michael Walcoff, the under secretary of benefits for Veterans Affairs, said that colleges, including GW, were helping to serve the largest group of veterans since the first GI Bill in 1944.

“Thank you to all the local colleges and universities for opening your doors to our veterans,” Walcoff said.

Hawthorne, who is currently a Presidential Administrative Fellow at the University, said that joining the Army and then attending GW was rewarding, but was not necessarily easy.

“The service is a good way to give back and to professionally develop or enhance careers,” Hawthorne said in response to the idea of students debating whether or not to join the service. “The military is a lifestyle, and it is definitely not for everyone.”

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