Army veteran pursues business degree at Pace University thanks to scholarship

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For veterans returning home after serving our country, finding a job can be tough, especially without the right education.

PIX11 wants to help ease the struggle of transitioning vets seeking higher education and has partnered with the Veterans Education Challenge (VEC), an organization dedicated to sending  U.S. military vets to college.  It provides them with needed scholarships that the GI bill does not cover.

VEC founders, Avis and Bruce Richards, started the "Veterans Education $1 Million Matching Challenge" to help fund higher education for returning veterans.  The challenge is hosted on Crowdrise.com, and every dollar donated between Veterans Day 2015 and Veterans Day 2016 will be matched  dollar-for-dollar by the Richards up to $1 million.

Efforts to help these financially-strapped veterans are also being made by institutions like PACE University in Manhattan.  There are more than 300 veterans enrolled there this semester.

One of them is 49-year-old Richard Hallman, who after returning home in 2014 from serving our country for 6 years, had a very difficult time landing a job. He soon realized his job search would be easier with a college degree.

The married father who lives in Brooklyn, is now in his sophomore year at Pace University, going for his B.A. in business, with a major in finance.

PACE is providing Hallman with a 50 percent veterans tuition scholarship. That's in addition to the G.I. bill's 60 percent coverage.

"I wanted to learn more, do more, be more, so here I am now, going to school," Hallman said.

Hallman, a specialist in the U.S. Army Reserves, was deployed to Afghanistan in 2011. He was trained as a military police officer and assigned to the DFIP Detention Facility, about a mile from Bagram Airfield. Hallman said prison detainees rioted on a regular basis.

"There was always a chance you could get stabbed," Hallman said. "We were usually outnumbered, but because of the way we did things, we could control things pretty quickly."