Is your military career coming to a close? If so, what now?
If you’re thinking of entering the world of higher education, you may find that the shift from military life to academic life is not always easy.
Do American colleges and universities provide help for veterans in transition from military life into education? What can schools do? What can students do? Which schools are the most military-friendly?
Barriers That Veteran Students Commonly Face
In recent years, as many as 870,000 veterans were enrolled in higher education programs. While the financial benefits for veterans in higher education are quite generous, transitioning vets must often navigate through complex bureaucracies and paperwork before receiving the benefits available to them.
A significant number of current ex-military students have seen combat duty in Iraq or Afghanistan. These ex-military students may face a host of issues and special circumstances that civilian students generally do not. Issues may include post-traumatic stress disorder, physical disabilities, family issues and mental-health issues.
Veteran-Friendly Practices on Campus
In a series of guidelines for college administrators, the Student Veterans of America has identified services and facilities a veteran might look for in a college or university:
- A veteran’s center focused on veteran’s issues and providing access to information and resources including career counseling, academic advising, housing information, financial aid counseling and other services.
- A student veteran’s organization as a general umbrella organization for networking and support.
- Specific electronic and print resources aimed at veterans. The University of Wisconsin has a good example of a military web resource.
- Partnerships with local veterans-focused organizations including Veterans Administration (VA) hospitals, local military bases and other state and local organizations
Military-Friendly Programs in Place
Many colleges and universities are already rising to the occasion. Some, like Cleveland State University, have introduced Veteran Orientation Programs. These help transitioning vets get access to student services and other resources that aid them with educational, financial and medical needs.
Established by the Department of Education, Veterans Upward Bound programs (VUBs) provide free academic tutoring and other support services for low-income and first-generation veteran college students. To date, there are roughly 46 VUBs in operation in the US, Puerto Rico and Guam. Find more information about VUB programs. In general, the most military-friendly schools put cultural, financial and medical resources within easy reach of veteran students.
Military-Friendly School List
Here’s a list of military-friendly schools singled out by the Student Veterans of America that you may consider attending: