Returning from active duty in the armed forces is a major transition, and veterans will have to take stock and decide what to do next. This might involve going back to school and receiving either a bachelor's or advanced degree – which could be a ticket to better employment and drastically improved quality of life.
Of course, getting back into the education pipeline is not automatic – in some cases, it's not even easy. This is why it's fortunate that some schools and programs have begun taking up the slack, making special efforts to get veterans involved, helping them on the way to valuable degrees.
Grant for veteran center in Illinois
The Northwest Herald highlighted one example of a program on campus meant to help veterans perform the day-to-day tasks they must handle to secure an education. At McHenry County College, the campus veteran center sees 300 visits a month by students who have served in the military. Now, the building is set for a major upgrade, after a Veterans Center Initiative Award, initiated by the Home Depot Foundation and Student Veterans of America.
The money will improve a campus amenity that provides vital services for the veterans who attend MCC, with the news provider explaining that the center is used for registration aid, mentoring, housing help and preparing Veterans Assistance Commission claims. Both the existence of this space and the focus on its improvement could serve as positive examples at other schools that attract significant numbers of former military personnel as students.
The Northwest Herald also shared some facts regarding why it's so important to prioritize veteran education, namely that returning combat personnel between the ages of 19 and 34 can use secondary education to re-integrate into civilian life. If individuals return from the military but receive no support afterwards, the journey from solider to community member could be difficult to navigate. Schools with dedicated programs and spaces to accommodate veteran needs ease that process.
Representative on campus in Michigan
The above example focused on a physical space where veterans can get help with their unique questions and needs. Another recent report, this one from Michigan's The Oakland Press, involves a person who works with people to ensure service members succeed as students. The news provider specified that Oakland University, in Oakland, Michigan, will now have a veteran resource representative on campus as a full-time employee. The representative's daily tasks include liaising with Student Veterans of America and meeting individually with veteran students.
The Oakland Press also explained that the new role will be an advocate for military-affiliated pupils, whether dealing with the school or the community at large. Having someone there to create positive connections between veterans and the civilian organizations around them could make the transition from military to home front life easier.
The news provider specified that OU is currently host to over 300 veteran students, meaning having a dedicated official is a relevant choice. Some of the support for the new hire comes from an outside program – the Michigan Veterans Education Initiative. Such organizations are helping colleges become havens for veterans as they learn new skills.