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25 Colleges With Incredible Veteran Support

Posted on Tuesday May 8, 2012 by Staff Writers

To put it bluntly, Americans don’t do the best job of caring for military veterans. Even those who fundamentally disagree with war should at least acknowledge the humanity present in all individuals who choose a career and stick with it honestly, and the equal opportunities they earn as a result. Upon returning home, many veterans feel as if a college education makes for the most fitting route toward their ultimate goals. But even institutes of higher learning sometimes fall short when it comes to adapting their offerings to the unique needs of current and former Armed Forces members. Others, however, push themselves to offer the most accommodating, accepting atmospheres possible. Things may be improving across the United States, and anyone involved in the veterans affairs profession might want to turn to the following schools for inspiration about serving them right.

  1. United States Military Academy

    It makes sense that West Point would take good care of the frequently marginalized veteran demographic, seeing as how it’s a prestigious military school and all. Even retired military personnel receive support through the Retirement Services Office, which offers resources and support regarding legal services, healthcare, living arrangements, and other necessities.

  2. U.S. Naval Academy

    Here, both enlistees and their families receive considerable educational help, medical care, professional, crisis care, relocation assistance, volunteer opportunities, counseling, mobility and deployment assistance, and almost anything else they could possibly need. Many — but not all — of these services are also available to reservists in the Marines and Navy as well as their loved ones; there’s even a cemetery and columbarium so visitors can honor the fallen.

  3. U.S. Air Force Academy

    Through the Association of Graduates, the Air Force cares for its alumni with a club including its own magazine, career assistance, and scholarships for dependents; however, one doesn’t have to join up to receive some of the same perks. USAFA’s events calendar is packed with alumni networking opportunities, special service projects, awards, family support, memorials, and tours along The Heritage Trail, all of which promote community among service members.

  4. University of Texas at Austin

    University of Texas’ main campus really takes care of its veteran population, especially females, those struggling with the transition or requiring counseling, and even offers the Perkins Scholarship to qualified honorably discharged or active duty service members. In order to smooth the road into civilian life, Longhorns with military backgrounds can take advantage of on- and offsite services regarding education, healthcare, student organization, and more; the school also makes sure to teach faculty and staff about properly accommodating veterans and their families.

  5. Rutgers University

    Veterans Services at this New Brunswick, N.J.-based college are top-notch, and there exists numerous events and outreach organizations catering to specific and broader needs alike — they even host a mentoring program! Along with groups such as Veterans for Education, ROTC, and RU S.E.R.V.S., the school also holds lectures, seminars, and other events ensuring a more harmonious connection between returning servicemen and women and their campus homes.

  6. Santa Barbara City College

    MilitaryTimes EDGE considers this college one of the most veteran-friendly in the United States because of its Veterans’ Support Program, which bursts with activity far beyond most departments with similar aims. Benefits cover a broad range of health/medical/wellness-, education-, career-, and transition-related issues, and every year they host Veterans Appreciation and Resource Day, with Women Veterans and Military Women’s Recognition and Resource Day starting to come into its own.

  7. South Dakota School of Mines and Technology

    Seeing as how it stands as the very first university to ever receive the Seven Seals Award — granted by seven branches of the Armed Forces — it’s safe to assume that veterans particularly thrive at SDSMT. Their Veterans Resource Center provides free snacks and beverages for service members as well as a comfortable lounge and extensive services helping them with classes, transitioning, and landing a job during and after graduation.

  8. Harvard University

    Ivy League schools notoriously fall short when it comes to embracing veterans’ needs, but Harvard University stands as one of the better among that crowd. Two-hundred fifty out of 325 Yellow Ribbon Project positions have been filled, and the Veteran’s Day celebrations have coaxed a lot of former service members to share their stories with classmates, faculty, and staff in order to promote unity.

  9. Columbia University

    Along with Hah-vahd, Columbia is one of the few Ivy League universities putting forth the effort to make sure veterans feel cared for and welcome. BusinessWeek’s sobering look at military professionals and these prestigious schools lauded it as one of the best, with an 87% veteran enrollment increase since 2009; the General Studies program opened up in 1947 to welcome returning WWII soldiers, and it continues reaching out to (and actively recruiting!) enlistees.

  10. University of Rochester

    GI Bill Hub recognizes this New York institution for its enthusiastic commitment to educating veterans, particularly when it comes to making generous scholarships available, a nice proportion of them offering full rides. On Veteran’s Day, Rochester makes sure to honor the men and women on campus through portraiture and allowing them to tell their stories to campus peers.

  11. Lone Star College System

    This community college network north of Houston received accolades from for its veteran outreach efforts from The Chronicle of Higher Education, which ranked it in its top 15. Five of its campuses host student veterans groups reaching out to make their higher ed experiences as welcoming, comfortable, and familiar as possible.

  12. Dartmouth University

    For military veterans hoping to earn an MBA via the GI Bill, The Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth University stands as one of their greatest allies. Via the Tuck Armed Forces Alumni Association, current and former students stay in touch to coax more veterans toward college and demystify their experiences; oh, and the whole free tuition thing is pretty sweet, too.

  13. University of California at Berkeley

    Despite its reputation for passionate anti-war protests, Berkeley – particularly the Haas School of Business — actually receives accolades from veterans for how fabulously it embraces and accommodates them. MilitaryTimes EDGE and GI Jobs magazine both consider the college a notable option, and the Transfer, Re-entry, & Student Parent Center offers scholarships, mentoring programs, workshops, and even an entire course dedicated to making the transition run as stress-free as they can.

  14. Kaplan University

    Some current and former service members prefer online or for-profit schools to their brick-and-mortar predecessors, with Kaplan University often referenced as one of the best when it comes to meeting their needs. It offers some of the most generous tuition reduction programs in the United States, with bachelor’s and associate degrees between 24% and 55% lower than the regular price, depending on the program.

  15. San Diego Community College District

    They only hosted a Department of Education event concerning greater college and university access for veterans, which should probably count for something when analyzing its outreach. Beyond that detail, though, the system offers up four unique academic programs specifically for active duty and honorably discharged military personnel in addition to the standard (or, at least, they ought to be standard) services.

  16. University of Arizona

    Both active duty and retired veterans enjoy some wonderfully flexible academic opportunities should they elect to roll with the Wildcats. They have their choice of evening, weekend, correspondence, and online courses fitting their particular professional and personal needs, along with academic advisors specifically trained in assisting military personnel. It certainly helps that the school works intimately with the Armed Forces in order to cobble together the best strategies, which are then executed by the V.E.T.S. (Veterans Education and Transition Services) office.

  17. University of Minnesota

    University of Minnesota’s One Stop program targeting veterans (as well as other demographics) involves all the expected services regarding scheduling, mentoring programs, mental health, finances, and the like. Veterans Connect, the school’s regular newsletter, makes all the latest news and events regarding military professionals on campus easily accessible — they even make stickers available designating especially veteran-friendly spaces. Every year, Golden Gophers celebrate Student Veterans Appreciation Day, with speakers honoring the contributions enrolled military personnel have made before, during, and after their stay at UM.

  18. Empire State College

    Post-traumatic stress disorder all too often crawls into veterans’ consciousness, but it wasn’t until recently that the military, public officials, and the citizenry bothered to address the serious, sad reality. Among the usual services offered to these nontraditional students, Empire State College emphasizes its attempts to quell the emotional, mental, and physical pain associated with the oft-marginalized mental health condition. They make sure to keep a dedicated counselor on site to act as a sympathetic, trained ear and advocate promoting strength, determination, and the other skills needed to move forward from tragedy.

  19. University of Wyoming

    Student veterans polled by GI Jobs consider this the state’s most preferred school for providing them with the resources and accommodations they need to succeed. Seeing as how it hosts both an Air Force and Army ROTC programs, University of Wyoming is pretty up close and personal with the military’s unique set of circumstances. The school also takes pains to allow for more flexible classes, including completing coursework online in the event of international deployment.

  20. Sam Houston State University

    Another Texas school lauded for how well it treats students who have served in the Armed Forces by the voters at GI Jobs. Its world-class Criminal Justice department is actually considered a Military Preferred Program, and it allows for majors to molds their courses around whatever personal or professional challenges that might materialize. In September 2011, Bearkats recognized the Boot Campaign, which encouraged Homecoming attendees to buy and don used pairs of combat boots (with proceeds going toward healthcare support for current and former soldiers), attend football games with special veteran events, and build empathy and understanding of what they may have experienced during wartime.

  21. San Diego State University

    The fact that San Diego State University’s campus features its very own war memorial should probably clue you in about its opinion of America’s military veterans. Featured by CNN, GI Jobs, and other news outlets for its inspiring services, the school offers some of the most top-notch financial, professional, academic, and healthcare support in the United States. Special housing is available for enrollees wanting to live around others making the transition and, perhaps, struggling with the same things.

  22. Baldwin-Wallace College

    At this Yellow Ribbon institution, veteran students receive some of the nation’s best educational support conforming to whatever they require. When it comes to anything particularly unique or standout, however, there’s nothing terribly new in how Baldwin-Wallace College conducts its business. It simply offers up what it can with what resources it holds and devotes time and passion to making the process smoother for the military personnel population. And, really, that’s all that should matter.

  23. Vassar College

    In April 2012, Vassar made history as the very first higher education organization to partner up with the Posse Foundation, whose core goals involve increasing the number of veterans graduating from college. Fall semester 2013 will see the very first round of students receiving scholarships and leadership training, following the school’s oft-overlooked tradition of accepting former World War II soldiers on the GI Bill. The outlook for this initiative remains highly positive, so those returning from active duty might want to consider taking advantage of it when seeking a world-class liberal arts education.

  24. Evergreen State College

    Because of its Yellow Ribbon status, this Washington state-based college makes sure to reach out to both veteran students and their families. To ensure the greatest possible services — which include tuition discounts and waivers, awards, resources, and the like — the college works closely with multiple organizations devoted exclusively to issues of military personnel and the higher education sector, such as the National Association of Veterans Programs Administrators, Service Opportunity Colleges, and others. It also makes sure to keep peer counselors on hand for anything those enrolled under the GI Bill might need to ask about or talk over.

  25. Concord University

    Concord University tops MilitaryTimes EDGE’s definitive listing of America’s most veteran-friendly campuses, so tradition dictates it be listed last (please do not question tradition). Affordability, acceptance, flexibility, and genuine concern for its military personnel population place it right there at the top. Everything Concord does for veterans, it does better than anyone. And with 24/7 assistance, to boot.