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Honors highlight support of military veterans


Military veterans who also are students are finding plenty of support at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire to help them be successful, according to several national organizations that regularly evaluate how campuses across the country support veteran students.

With its "You served. We care." motto for veteran students, UW-Eau Claire recently received three military-friendly designations.

The first designation came from Victory Media, a veteran-owned business and publisher of G.I. Jobs and the Guide to Military Friendly Schools. For the sixth consecutive year, UW-Eau Claire was named in Victory Media's list of Military Friendly Schools. The 2015 list honors the top 15 percent of colleges, universities and trade schools that are doing the most to embrace America's service members and veterans as students, according to a Victory Media news release.

The second designation came with the university's inclusion in Military Advanced Education's 2015 Guide to Military-Friendly Colleges & Universities, marking the third consecutive year UW-Eau Claire was included in the guide. The guide provides military veterans and potential students with information about academic institutions that go out of their way to implement military-friendly policies in support of returning servicemen and women.

The third designation came from Military Times, which named UW-Eau Claire to the Military Times "Best for Vets: Colleges 2015" list for the third year in a row. The list is an annual ranking of colleges doing the most to support 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.

"To again be named a military-friendly school by three publications certainly affirms that our hard work is important and is worthy of being recognized on a national level," said Miranda Cross-Schindler, UW-Eau Claire's military education benefits coordinator. "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. Our departments and offices work collaboratively to ensure that we are meeting the changing needs of service members who are transitioning from military service to the college campus."

UW-Eau Claire also was included on U.S. News' "Best Colleges for Veterans" list. The university was ranked No. 3 among public universities, and No. 14 among public and private Midwestern schools on the list.

The following academic staff members are available to talk with reporters about the university's ongoing support for student veterans:

  • Jacqueline Bonneville, assistant dean of students, 715-836-2003 or bonnevjk@uwec.edu.
  • Miranda Cross-Schindler, military education benefits coordinator, 715-836-5212 or crossmk@uwec.edu.
  • Bonnie Isaacson, nontraditional student adviser, 715-836-3259 or isaacsbj@uwec.edu.

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