The GI Bill® in Action! Meet Maria Ponzio

Wife. Veteran. Linguist.

These are some of the words that describe Maria Ponzio. They are part of a personal history that she is proud of and that has helped to mold her into the amazing person she is today.

There is one word that is missing from that brief description, however, one word that thanks to the GI Bill® and The Salon Professional Academy(TSPA), Georgetown is quickly becoming a reality.


Finding Beauty

Maria Ponzio

The path from military linguist to aspiring cosmetologist has not always been on Maria’s radar, it is a new passion that represents many of her goals and aspirations that she dreamed of after discharge.

As she was approaching the end of her service and preparing for transition, Maria began to consider many of the options that could be available to her as she began to build a life outside of the military. As she considered, one of the things that she knew she wanted more than anything was to own her own business. Second only to that, was the desire to help people look and feel their best. Female soldiers aren’t often able to get their haircut, or practice skin care rituals to help them look their best. After spending so many years living that life she knew that one of the things made her, and so many others, feel great about themselves was to look their very best.

After spending time researching the future outlook for careers in beauty and discovering all of the opportunities that are available to her, Maria knew she had found a career that perfectly fit her dreams.

A Course in Benefits

military woman sitting at desk with computer

As active duty military approach their discharge date they are given the opportunity to go through a variety of classes that are made to help prepare them for the transition out of the military. Included in these courses is the VA Benefits course that details out all of the benefits that are available to discharged veterans.

In this class, Maria learned about how to find schools that accept GI Bill® benefits and apply to receive those funds. The process of applying to utilize those benefits is quite easy. Done through the Veterans Affairs’ website, once you apply it can take up to 6 weeks to receive a letter detailing out your eligibility. From there everything is handled by your school’s financial aid administrator and the Department of Veteran Affairs. When asked about her experience utilizing her benefits Maria said, “It couldn’t have been easier.”

An Education for the Future

Maria Ponzio practicing roller sets

Of course, applying for GI Bill® benefits cannot occur until after you have found a school. For Maria, her search began months before her discharge from the military as she began to look around her home near Fort Hood in Texas for cosmetology schools that accept GI Bill® benefits.

After touring multiple cosmetology schools in her area and not finding a facility that felt like a good fit for her career goals and standards, she ventured a little bit farther away, knowing that a good education was worth the drive. She found the perfect school for her in Georgetown, Texas, and after touring the facility knew there was nowhere else she would rather be than at The Salon Professional Academy, Georgetown.

With an education and curriculum system that is built with the intent to help her succeed, Maria found a school that shared her values in TSPA Georgetown. Thanks to an exclusive relationship with Redken, a TSPA education not only gives you access to the brands that are in demand but to a business focused education molded to help you find success. Because Maria’s long-term career goals include owning her own business, the business and client management classes that are included in TSPA Georgetown’s curriculum can help her build the skills to do just that.

In addition to their beautiful facilities and well-planned curriculum, Maria also felt drawn to the hands-on learning. Balanced with the necessary theory courses, Maria loves being able to practice mastering her skill as she prepares to begin working with clients.

It’s all going into helping her build a successful career in cosmetology that will last a lifetime.

A Well Defined Future

African American female in military uniform

When Maria began to look into pursuing a future in cosmetology she faced the same concerns that many prospective cosmetologists face. For many years, the idea that a career in beauty is only for high-school dropouts and has no income potential has thrived. But these assumptions couldn’t be further than the truth!

Beauty based careers are experiencing some of the largest growth among technical industries. Growing at a rate of 8% faster than the national average, beauty careers are in high demand, and because everyone’s hair continues to grow that demand isn’t going anywhere.

Maria faced the same stigmas when she informed her family of her dreams, but thanks to her research and planning she was able to put many of their fears to rest. “It’s not just a job, it’s a skill-based profession that will always be in demand. What could be better than doing something you love?”

At The Salon Professional Academy, Georgetown we are dedicated to our students, and to their paths; past, present, and future.

If you are looking for a future that could help you build your own business in an industry that is full of creativity and color, we invite you to visit TSPA Georgetown and discover a new beautiful future. With many different financial options and GI Bill® approval, making an investment in your future may be easier than you think.

GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). More information about education benefits offered by VA is available at the official U.S. government Web site at