When starting the college search process as a veteran, it is important to prioritize schools that have support programs in place, specifically for veterans. These are the schools that have an on campus student veteran office & club, the schools that award college credit for military experience and/or CLEP and DSST exams. Basically, these are the universities and colleges that will help you to succeed. They prioritize military-affiliated students and therefore have taken the time to implement programs on campus to ensure that you have all the tools you need to find success in your degree program.
Universities With The 8 Most Important Veterans Programs
These colleges and universities stand out when it comes to veteran programming on campus. Not only do they have a lot of veterans programs, but they have the programs that really count*.
There are a lot of different programs that schools can say they have put in place, but to be very honest, they don’t do much for veterans.
The aforementioned 8 programs and policies, however, can and will affect the day to day successes of student veterans. These are the programs that really count.
That is why it is most advantageous to seek out schools that have most, if not all, of the above programs that apply to you.
Student Veterans of America Chapter
Having a Student Veterans of America chapter will help ensure that student veterans feel like they belong on campus.
The chapter is also very much connected to what is going on in Washington D.C. for veterans. That means that when students belong to an SVA chapter, they have the opportunity to stay up to date on any policy change that could affect their educational benefits.
Full-time Veterans Counselor
Having a full-time veterans counselor on campus ensures that veterans have a designated person to go to that has all of the information.
Schools that have a full-time veterans counselor understand that a lot is at stake when veterans are using their GI Bill. Therefore, having one person who knows the ins-and-outs of using GI Bill benefits at that institution will remove the possibility of veterans getting the runaround.
Club/Association for Veterans
Some schools have an SVA chapter along with a club/association for veterans. This is just another avenue for veterans to find a sense of support and belonging with like-minded individuals.
It is in these groups where students can share experiences and advice on how to be successful at that specific institution.
College Credit for Military Experience + Exams
Offering college credit for previous military experience as well as for both the DSST and CLEP exams is something that all colleges and universities should be doing.
However, that isn’t the case. Schools that do offer this ability to acquire college credit show that they appreciate the previous knowledge that veterans have acquired through schooling and or real world experiences.
This policy can single-handedly make one of the biggest changes in a student veterans’ college career because it can reduce the amount of money students have to spend taking classes at said institution.
The more college credit a student starts college with, the fewer amount of college courses that student must spend their GI Bill on in order to graduate.
One important thing to note with TA though is that the DoD’s Tuition Assistance only covers up to $250 per credit hour. If a school is “Tuition Assistance Approved” that does not mean that an active duty person can go to that school for free. It only means that they can use their TA benefit to help pay for that degree.
The Yellow Ribbon Program helps make more money available to eligible students who’s GI Bill doesn’t cover the complete cost of a degree.
For example, Those who attend a private school or a public school as a nonresident would benefit from the Yellow Ribbon Program.
Schools that elect to participate in the Yellow Ribbon Program have entered into an agreement with the VA and will choose the amount of tuition and fees that will be given to eligible students. The VA will then match that amount and will issue the payments directly to the school.