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Vets' Preference Changed
National Guard and reserve members released from active duty will get the same veterans' hiring preference for federal jobs as those who are separated or retired from regular active-duty assignments.

The Office of Personnel Management announced the new hiring rules in a notice published the same day in the Federal Register, where new rules and regulations are published. Normally, there is a three- or four-month delay in implementing newly announced federal rules. OPM officials, however, said in a statement accompanying the rule that they chose not to wait for the traditional comment period before implementing the new hiring policy so as to "not unwittingly deny veterans' preference based upon regulations that are now obsolete."

"If OPM's regulations were permitted to remain as currently written while OPM solicited comments upon its proposed revisions there is a chance that reservists recently released from active duty in Iraq or Afghanistan, for example, might be denied veterans' preference based upon the language of current regulations," the statement says. The federal personnel office said factors in the rush to implement the policy were "the sacrifices being made by individuals who do not serve full time in the armed forces but who have been called to active duty for significant service."

Under the new rules, a veteran gets extra credit when seeking a federal job. Previously, veterans' preference applied only to people "separated" from active duty under honorable conditions.

Under the new policy, hiring preference would extend to any person discharged or released from active duty if they had more than 180 consecutive days of duty since Sept. 11, 2001, served in a war or in a campaign for which a campaign badge or expeditionary medal was authorized. Also, the person who is discharged or released must have received an honorable or general discharge.

The interim policy is still open to comments, and could be modified. Comments will be accepted through Aug. 8, with revisions possible after a review.

Marriage Enrichment Seminars
Family Programs has scheduled a Marriage Enrichment Seminar for Sept. 22-24. Recently deployed Soldiers and Airmen along with their spouses will be given first priority. For more information or to register, call Marie Durling at (609) 562-0739.

Federal Grant For Spouses Of Deployed Or Recently Deployed Military
A $100,000 federal grant from the Department of Community Affairs is available for spouses of deployed or recently deployed military (all branches across the state). The funds will be available only until September. For more information contact Fawn I. Mutschler, Military Grant Liaison, Women's Opportunity Center, YMCA of Burlington County by calling 856-234-6200 Ext. 235 or by email at

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Diploma Mills
By Spc. Marimer Navarrete, 444th MPAD

There's a saying: "It if seems too good to be true, it is." It could be called the golden rule for common sense, but it seems to be the first thing people forget when they are looking for a way to advance their career. This is especially true for those who buy diplomas or certificates on the Internet to use in their résumé for a promotion or a pay raise.

But what happens if the college you enroll in is bogus? More important how do you avoid these so-called institutions?

It is difficult to develop a comprehensive list of characteristics that can be used to spot a diploma mill, since they are notorious for imitating legitimate degree programs. But there are some methods that these companies use which you should be on the look out for before you commit your time or money.

Beware of schools of which you never heard before. An official-sounding name does not mean a college is legitimate. Scams often use words like "national" and "education" in their titles.

Check for phrases that describe their programs including "non-traditional, alternative, innovative, state-authorized" or "state-approved". These companies may suggest that their organization has undergone a process of academic review, but in reality the organization may not be accredited by an agency recognized by the U. S. Department of Education.

Few or no admissions or degree requirements should also raise a red flag. Also promises made about obtaining a degree in less time than that required for the completion of a program at a recognized and accredited institution should be a warning.

When it comes to money, diploma mills' costs are based on degree completion instead of the more common per credit fee schedule. Also, the assessment of learning outcomes or achievement is minimal or nonexistent.

Finally, if the address of the school often suggests a prestigious location, but mail can only be received at a post office box or mail service, that means the company may frequently change its address. Also if there is no significant cluster of physical facilities, they may be operating from a single office or even out of a private residence.

A cheap diploma is not worth losing your promotion or having to face potential problems with your civilian or military careers.

If you have any questions about the accreditation or legitimacy of a school, contact 1st Lt. Benjamin Stoner, Education Counselor at (609) 562-0975 or by e-mail at
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Volume 32 Number 3
Staff / Information