This Veterans Day, the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire has a special achievement to celebrate as it also honors the military service of its nearly 500 student veterans.
UW-Eau Claire has earned the UW System Veterans Education and Transition to Success certification and was honored for the achievement during the system's Board of Regents meeting Nov. 9.
The UW VETS certification is an indicator to veterans determining where to earn their college degree that UW-Eau Claire is a good choice, said Miranda Cross-Schindler, assistant director of Continuing Education and Veteran Services.
“Receiving this recognition certainly affirms that our hard work is important and is worthy of being recognized at the state level," Cross-Schindler said. "With an increasing number of veterans returning home who are considering where to use their GI bill, state and national ‘veteran friendly’ designations allow them to narrow their search. UW-Eau Claire is comprised of talented individuals who work collaboratively to ensure that we are meeting the changing needs of service members who are transitioning from military service to the college campus.”
The UW VETS certification program “highlights campuses that go above and beyond in a wide range of critical supportive services, including counseling, providing a welcoming campus environment, and giving student veterans a voice in university life,” according to the UW System website.
Assisting veterans in taking advantage of their education benefits is an important service that is key to helping them achieve their higher education goals, said Phil Huelsbeck, outreach program manager in Continuing Education who certifies education benefits for UW-Eau Claire students who are veterans or eligible dependents.
“Navigating the ins and outs of state and federal military education benefits can be a complicated and stressful task for any veteran or dependent,” Huelsbeck said. “That’s why it’s critically important for campus to provide the services and information these students and families need to get on with the important business of pursuing an education.”
UW VETS certification criteria include training campus faculty and staff on issues that student veterans may face in transitioning to college; regularly surveying student veterans to identify needs and get input; establishing a campus steering committee of student veterans, faculty and staff to provide guidance to campus leadership; providing student veteran-focused orientation programming; identifying internal and external counseling resources to assist student veterans; and providing a dedicated space on campus for student veterans to meet peers and receive help with benefits, enrollment and connections to resources.
UW-Eau Claire also has been recognized in several national rankings for its support for student veterans:
- One of just two UW System schools in the College Choice “50 Best Colleges for Veterans for 2017” list.
- One of just 130 colleges nationwide included on the “Military Times Best for Vets: Colleges 2017” list.
- Recognized as a 2017 Victory Media Military Friendly School and Military Spouse Friendly School.
- Honored as a top school in the “2017 Military Advanced Education & Transition Guide to Colleges and Universities.”
- Ranked as the top Midwestern public regional university from Wisconsin or Minnesota in the 2018 U.S. News “Best Colleges for Veterans” list.
For more information about UW-Eau Claire's UW VETS certification and other “veteran friendly” rankings and what it means for student veterans, contact Miranda Cross-Schindler at firstname.lastname@example.org or 715-836-5212.
Photo cutline: UW-Eau Claire Chancellor James Schmidt is photographed with several UW-Eau Claire students and staff whose work helped the university earn UW System Veterans Education and Transition to Success certification. Pictured, from left, are Danielle Rainey, vice president of UW-Eau Claire's Veterans Club; Jessica Traw, a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs work study student and former Veterans Club president; Schmidt; Miranda Cross-Schindler, assistant director of Continuing Education and Veteran Services; and Phil Huelsbeck, outreach program manager in Continuing Education who certifies education benefits for student veterans and dependents.