The Texas Army National Guard Benefits and Incentives Office is hosting the Camp Mabry Education Fair November 15th from 10:00AM- 2:30PM. The fair will include universities and government organizations that will provide information about benefits and incentives programs, and will discuss entitlements afforded to the Soldiers and Airmen of the Texas National Guard.
Because benefits and incentives programs are often confusing, the Texas Military Department provides resources to help Soldiers and Airmen navigate these programs.
Mary Vrbanac, education services specialist for the Texas Army National Guard, said that out of the 54 states and territories, Texas provides the best benefits to their National Guard members.
“The Texas National Guard Soldiers and Airmen receive federal tuition assistance; every Guardsman is entitled to Chapter 1606 as well as chapter 30, 33, and many others depending on their status, we want to make the most of their benefits and what is afforded to them.”
What does that all mean?
“Our mission is for the Texas Army National Guard Education and Incentives Office to maximize utilization of education benefits and incentives for those who have dedicated themselves to the service of our country and of the state of Texas,” said Mary Vrbanac.
“We want our Soldiers and Airmen to utilize these benefits and with the many different options, we explain the difference between each one and when and how they are to be used,” she said. “We sit down with them and try to understand what they want in their future and then we provide the resources to start them on the process.”
The goal for the Texas Army National Guard Education and Incentive Office is to answer questions from Soldiers and Airmen. The counselors also advise and educate unit commanders to prepare Soldiers and Airmen to go through the approval process, often a process that can be lengthy and confusing.
“The Texas Army National Guard Education and Incentive Office is primarily the auditing agency when the unit commanders or leadership send those up for approval, to ultimately get their Soldiers and Airmen paid,” said Andrew Lehman, Texas Army National Guard State Incentive Branch Manager.
When discussing options and constraints, the counselors understand that it is paramount for any Soldier or Airmen to understand what they can and cannot do while under contract. They also stress that though they may have many options, time is also a factor for any service member’s contract and necessary actions are needed to retain and maintain their benefits and incentives during time in service.
Whether in the process of signing up for the different types of incentives or education benefits, or are already utilizing them, ultimately it is up to the Soldier to understand what they are entitled to and when an how to apply.
“Our mission is when [the Soldier] leaves, they were provided with the resources and information about different programs to effectively utilize the benefits they deserved when they signed up for the Texas Army National Guard,” said Cpt. Samantha Fernando, education counselor and GI Bill manager at Camp Mabry, “We want what is best for our Soldiers.”
The Camp Mabry Education Fair on Nov. 15, 10:00-2:30 PM, located at 2200 West 35th St. Austin, TX 78703 at Camp Mabry, Building 15. Colleges and many government organizations will be available to answer questions. To contact an education or incentives counselor you may call (512) 782-5505 or stop by the office. You can also email them directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.