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College of Business recognized for its support of student veterans

| Alison Wagener

UW-Eau Claire's College of Business has been named a Best for Vets: Business School by Military Times. The designation recognizes universities that foster an inclusive, supportive environment for student veterans and go above and beyond to cater to their unique needs.

This year, UW-Eau Claire's College of Business was ranked 13th in the country for its distinguished support of students who are military veterans. Rankings were determined based on surveys completed by veterans around the country who are pursuing graduate business degrees.

Miranda Cross-Schindler, military and Continuing Education program manager for UW-Eau Claire, works closely with veterans in the College of Business. As a veteran and an alumna of the program herself, Cross-Schindler has a thorough understanding of how to best serve veterans pursuing an education.

Cross-Schindler said her department regularly conducts surveys to ensure the needs of student veterans are being met throughout the campus community and to identify room for improvement in veteran student services.

Those veteran student services include having Cross-Schindler in the Veterans and Military Education Benefits office as a point of contact for GI Bill assistance, the Veterans Center and the Veterans Club, a student organization that serves as a network of support for military veterans and their families.

These services "not only attract veterans to attend UW-Eau Claire, but also provide the support needed for retention," Cross-Schindler said.

UW-Eau Claire also conducts a campuswide veterans' awareness training program for faculty and staff.

Brandon Cedarblade, a junior majoring in marketing analytics, has experienced firsthand the strong support system for veterans on campus. Cedarblade served with the Wisconsin Army National Guard for four years as a combat medic.

"As a veteran, the university as a whole has been incredible with helping me get my benefits and determine the course work that would best fit my requirements," Cedarblade said.

Cedarblade said that the Veterans and Military Education Benefits office is an "incredible resource" for student veterans who need help coordinating their military benefits and is something he would recommend to fellow veterans interested in becoming Blugolds.

Gretchen Hutterli, assistant dean of the College of Business, added that veterans on campus greatly benefit from the college's focus on individual attention, real-world applications of class content and incorporation of hands-on projects. In addition, Hutterli said the Center for Advising, Development and Enrichment (CADE) is also a great resource for veterans.

According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, in 2013, more than 1 million student veterans were using their GI benefits to attend an institution of higher education. The DVA expects that number to increase by 20 percent in the next few years.

"With an increasing number of veterans returning home who are considering where to use their GI Bill, these lists are a great way to help them narrow their search," Cross-Schindler said. "Being named 13th in the nation for veteran support is largely due to the collective effort of our campus to ensure that we are meeting the changing needs of service members who are transitioning from military service to the college campus."

Hutterli said that she believes the Military Times ranking sends a positive message to prospective student veterans about the learning culture in UW-Eau Claire's College of Business.

"Veterans deserve our gratitude and respect because they have put their lives on the line to defend us and our way of life," Hutterli said.

Military Times considered the following factors in their ranking process:

  • Whether state residency is waived to allow veteran students to pay in-state tuition.
  • Whether tuition falls at or below the GI Bill's nationwide cap.
  • Whether the university participates in the Yellow Ribbon program, in which the school partners with the DVA to provide part or all of the difference between its tuition rate and the amount covered by the GI Bill.
  • Acceptance of graduate academic credits for military training, as recommended by the American Council on Education.
  • Availability of veteran-only classes, tutoring and mentorship programs.
  • Academic help for veterans, such as special withdrawal and re-enrollment policies for service members who are deployed.
  • Number of staff members dedicated to veterans issues and the amount of time they spend on veteran-specific work.
  • Scope and frequency of military-related training for teachers and administrators.
  • Rate of retention, course completion and graduation among both veteran students within the College of Business and the university as a whole.

A complete ranking of each participating business school can be found here.

For more information, contact Miranda Cross-Schindler at or 715-836-5212.

Photo caption: Miranda Cross-Schindler and Brandon Cedarblade meet in a UW-Eau Claire College of Business classroom.