The Voices for Veterans Scholarshipat NASSAU COMMUNITY COLLEGE was created to assist Veterans and/or Veterans Dependents who are not entitled to, or no longer entitled to, GI benefits under Chapter 30, 33 or 35. It is a misconception that ALL Veterans and/or Veterans Dependents are entitled to education benefits infinitum. Those Veterans who have served, and risked their lives for this county, should be entitled to complete an education at their own pace. However, those Veterans whose discharge was “less than honorable” are not entitled to ANY benefits of the GI Bill. A less than honorable discharge may occur for a variety of reason, one of which is undiagnosed PTSD/depression. This scholarship was started after hearing the story of a young Veteran who attended NCC and was one of many veterans in this situation. He is a survivor of suicide and, after hitting rock bottom and receiving treatment, went on to attend NCC and transfer to Columbia University. He was not entitled to GI Benefits due to undiagnosed PTSD. His lobbying efforts in Washington, in part, lead to the passing of “The Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act.” This Act was named after a young Marine from Texas who shot himself in 2011 after serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. This legislation will direct the Veterans Association to provide better mental health services to all veterans and members of the military, including lengthening the time veterans can seek VA mental health care services to better address conditions like PTSD.
In addition to a less than honorable discharge, many Veterans with Honorable discharges have a hard time adjusting to civilian life and must overcome hurdles in their personal lives before becoming ready to earn a degree. In these cases, their GI benefits may expire. Each story is different, and heart-breaking. The Voices for Veterans Scholarship offers a chance for any Veteran (or Veterans’ Dependent) who served this Country, risking their life, who is not entitled to, or no longer entitled to the benefits of the GI Bill, to complete an education at their own pace.