UW-Eau Claire named to Military Times 'Best for Vets' list for second consecutive yearNovember 22, 2013
EAU CLAIRE — The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire has been named to the Military Times "Best for Vets: Colleges 2014" list for the second year in a row. The list is an annual ranking of colleges doing the most to support military veterans.
UW-Eau Claire is one of 86 "Best for Vets" colleges selected from more than 600 institutions that responded to a Military Times survey. UW-Eau Claire, UW Oshkosh and UW-River Falls are the only three UW System universities included on the list.
"We continually strive to implement new initiatives on campus to make UW-Eau Claire an attractive institution for veterans seeking higher education," said Miranda Cross-Schindler, military education benefits coordinator. "There are many universities that veterans can select from, which can be overwhelming. We are dedicated to giving these deserving individuals the support they need to reach their higher education goals. So to be added to this list for the second year in a row is an honor."
This is the fourth time this year that UW-Eau Claire has been recognized for its support for military veterans. In January UW-Eau Claire was included in Military Advanced Education's 2013 Guide to Military-Friendly Colleges & Universities. In September the university was named a Military Friendly School by Victory Media for the fifth straight year, and this week U.S. News & World Report named UW-Eau Claire one of the top public colleges and universities in the Midwest for military veterans.
Factors used to determine a school's inclusion on the "Best for Vets" college list include whether its tuition falls below the GI Bill's nationwide cap; whether it waives some state residency rules for service members, allowing them to pay in-state tuition; whether it has a central office for handling veterans issues; whether it grants at least some academic credit for military training, as recommended by the American Council on Education; the number of its staff members dedicated to veteran issues and how much time they spend on veteran-specific work; the school's academic help for veterans, such as special withdrawal and re-enrollment policies for service members who are deployed, as well as veteran-only classes, tutoring and mentorship programs; and its graduation and student loan default rates.
The following are examples of initiatives on behalf of veterans at UW-Eau Claire:
- The Veterans Center (Schofield 20), which provides a place for veteran students to meet other veterans, as well as for veteran students, faculty and staff to learn about resources available to them, attend programs on veteran needs, participate in support groups and access a telehealth network through a partnership with the Veterans Administration Hospital in Minneapolis.
- Veterans and Military Education Benefits Office (Schofield 128), which assists veterans in applying for their G.I. Bill benefits and advises them about other benefits available from the state and federal governments. The office operates under Cross-Schindler's supervision. Support for Cross-Schindler's position came from UW-Eau Claire's Blugold Commitment, which is a differential tuition increase of $1,200 phased in over four years to preserve and enhance the distinctive UW-Eau Claire educational experience.
- The Veterans Advisory Committee, which reports to the provost, consisting of staff from the university's offices providing veterans services and three veteran students. The committee meets several times a semester to talk about veteran students' needs and concerns, and makes recommendations to the provost.
- The Veterans Club, a student organization that serves as a network of support for military veterans and their families at the university, educates the university community regarding the experiences of military veterans and provides service to the community.
- The university's Counseling Services staff has received personalized training on issues for veterans to better assist students. Support is also offered through the university's Services for Students with Disabilities office.
- Keynote speakers, educational sessions for faculty and staff about veterans' issues and other special events and programming.
- UW-Eau Claire participates in the Yellow Ribbon Program, which allows the VA and the university to help fund the out-of-state tuition for 10 university students.
- Scholarships for veterans and their families were created in 2012 to provide financial assistance to dependents of military veterans who would not otherwise qualify for federal and state education benefits.
The following UW-Eau Claire academic staff members are available to talk with reporters about the university's support for student veterans:
- Jacqueline Bonneville, assistant dean of students, 715-836-2003 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Miranda Cross-Schindler, military education benefits coordinator, 715-836-5212 or email@example.com.
- Bonnie Isaacson, nontraditional student adviser, 715-836-3259 or firstname.lastname@example.org.