Recognitions honor UW-Eau Claire for support of student veterans

| Julie Poquette

The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire has received several recent national recognitions for its support of student military veterans, including:

Key UW-Eau Claire support for student veterans is provided through the Veterans and Military Education Benefits Office, the Veterans Affairs work study program, Veterans Club and Veterans Center.

When student veteran Jessica Traw first arrived at UW-Eau Claire, she was able to find a network of friends by spending time in the Veterans Center. Traw, a human resources management major and 18-year U.S. Air Force veteran, now is involved in ensuring other UW-Eau Claire student veterans get the support they need.

"Through my position with the VA work study program, I'm able to assist incoming students with questions related to their benefits, campus resources, the Veterans Club and many other topics," Traw said. "As a human resources management major, assisting my fellow veterans is not only personally fulfilling, but it's a great experience that is preparing me for my career."

Traw also serves as president of the Veterans Club on campus.

"I strive to hold events that my fellow veterans will find to be fun and an option to give back to the community," Traw said. "The veterans support on campus has truly made a positive difference in my higher education experience.”

UW-Eau Claire is one of 1,273 post-secondary institutions from a pool of more than 8,800 schools nationwide to receive the Victory Media Military Friendly School designation. In considering schools for the designation, Victory Media considers publicly available data from federal agencies, personal opinion data from veteran students, and survey data submitted by participating schools. Victory Media also assesses how well schools meet minimum thresholds in areas critical to veteran students’ success: student veteran retention, graduation, job placement, loan repayment, loan default and persistence rates.

As a top school in the 2017 Military Advanced Education & Transition 2017 Guide to Colleges & Universities, UW-Eau Claire is recognized as exhibiting best practices in military and veteran education. The top school designation is based on UW-Eau Claire’s favorable scores in six key areas of consideration for military service members and veterans: military culture, financial assistance, flexibility, general support, online support and on-campus support.

Similarly, UW-Eau Claire was evaluated based on its responses to a detailed survey as well as on data from three federal agencies in being ranked 63rd out of 130 schools nationwide on the Military Times Best for Vets: Colleges 2017 list. In determining its list, Military Times evaluated institutions in five categories: university culture, academic outcomes/quality, student support, academic policies, and cost and financial aid.

In being named among College Factual's Best Colleges for Veterans, UW-Eau Claire ranked well on factors that, when combined, indicate a college's level of excellence in the areas of veteran affordability, policies and resources; the percentage of a school's student population that is made up of veterans; the degree to which student veterans are satisfied with their school; and an institution's overall quality.

"To again be honored as a military-friendly school in these four rankings certainly affirms that our hard work is important and worthy of being recognized at a national level," said Miranda Cross-Schindler, UW-Eau Claire assistant director of Continuing Education and Veteran Services. "Veterans returning from service have to consider where they want to use their GI Bill benefits, and these rankings lists are a great way to help them narrow their search.

At UW-Eau Claire, a fellow veteran student is the first point of contact for military veterans who enroll at the university, Cross-Schindler said.

"It's a great way for them to feel right at ease and understand that there is a large group of students here who have shared experiences," Cross-Schindler said. " We place a great value on the sacrifices that these students made while serving our country and want to ensure that their college experience is welcoming, rewarding and memorable."