The transition from service member to student can be challenging. Age and experience disparities on campus coupled with an independent way of life can be jarring for those used to military culture.
But universities have been stepping up to offer a range of support, from counseling services and dedicated staff handling benefits paperwork to exclusive space for student Veterans to meet.
Most universities would do well to model themselves after Purdue University, which has, among other things, ramped up support of its student Vets by introducing a faculty mentorship program, which it will roll out soon.
Awareness of student Veterans—not only by fellow students but the faculty as well—is vital when it comes to the success of Veterans on campus, both in the classroom and in the financial aid office.
Last week, a processing error on VA’s part meant benefit payments weren’t sent to some Veterans in Ohio and West Virginia. Bowling Green sprang into action and offered no interest loans to cover the cost while the issue is being corrected. An understanding of the unique financial aid challenges that Veterans experience (along with the occasional bureaucratic hiccups) helped university administrators move quickly to assist their students.
Student Veterans of America has worked to strengthen the support of student Veterans, so if your school needs help in this area, consider joining your local chapter, or starting one yourself.