GREEN BAY — The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay has been named one of the top “military friendly” schools in the nation by G.I. Jobs.
UW-Green Bay ranked in the top 15 percent of United States colleges and was placed on the magazine’s 2010 list of Military Friendly Schools.
Schools on the list range from state universities and private colleges to community colleges and trade schools. The common bond is their shared priority of recruiting students with military experience, according to G.I. Jobs, a print magazine with a circulation of about 75,000 that covers issues related to the transition from active duty to civilian life.
“This list is especially important now because the recently enacted Post-9/11 GI Bill has given veterans virtually unlimited financial means to go to school,” said Rich McCormack, G.I. Jobs publisher. “Veterans can now enroll in any school, provided they’re academically qualified… Veterans need a trusted friend to help them decide where to get educated. The Military Friendly Schools list is that trusted friend.”
UW-Green Bay staff member Elaina Koltz, veterans services coordinator, says the University will have about 300 students (about 5 percent of total enrollment) receiving veterans benefits this fall. Of those, about 230 will be veterans and about 70 will be dependents of disabled veterans.
A guest speaker and consultant, Army Nurse Alison Lighthall, told UW-Green Bay last December she thought the institution was ahead of the curve in its effort to assist veterans.
“Very few U.S. colleges and universities have made this unique group a priority the way your school has,” Lighthall said at a presentation on campus. “It is inspiring. And the fact that you are not willing to stop there — that you want more information, more ideas to expand your support — is what impresses me the most. Those who have served this country are in good hands at your school. And those who have not yet served in their own way are getting a rare chance to understand those who have.”
Some of the “military friendly” initiatives supported and led by UW-Green Bay personnel include:
• UW-Green Bay started a Veteran’s Reception in 2005 to recognize those coming back to campus after active duty and to honor all veterans on campus and in the community.
• UW-Green Bay boasts extensive campus collaboration in support of veterans with representatives from the Dean of Students Office, Counseling and Health Center, Residence Life, Public Safety, Veterans Services and Disability Services working together, an approach that sets the institution apart from some colleges and universities.
• Since 1973, UW-Green Bay has had a dedicated staff person who works specifically with veterans as a campus point of contact. This staff member regularly seeks professional development training in areas of post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, assault-awareness issues and education benefits. There is regular contact with Veterans Administrative offices to discuss better assistance to veterans who are students.
• Every year, UW-Green Bay sends care packages to UW-Green Bay service men and women, and also to military family members and friends of UW-Green Bay students stationed internationally.
• UW-Green Bay has an active Vets 4 Vets Club with strong student leadership. Its mission statement: To provide student veterans updated benefit information and support, while building friendships with returning veterans and those who support our troops. They have done outreach by volunteering at Bart Starr’s Training Camp for Seniors and the Veteran Hospital at King, Wis., in Waupaca County.
• Disability Services Director Lynn Niemi is secretary of WI AHEAD (Association for Higher Education and Disability). The organization hosted a Veterans Summit last Nov. 14 with representatives from regional veterans centers, the Wisconsin Department of Veteran Affairs, regional county Veterans Associations, veteran’s vocational rehabilitation counselors, and veterans hospitals in attendance. This summit provided up-to-date information on injuries being dealt with by veterans coming back to the United States, transition issues, post-secondary concerns and services for veterans.
• Plans are in place to survey the roughly 300 veterans and dependants now taking classes at UW-Green Bay regarding their challenges, and to address the University’s future support capabilities.
The Military Friendly Schools list was compiled after G.I. Jobs polled more than 7,000 schools nationwide. Methodology, criteria and weighting were developed with the assistance of an advisory committee consisting of educators and administrators from Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Toledo, Duquesne University, Coastline Community College and Lincoln Technical Institute. Criteria for making the list included efforts to recruit and retain military and veteran students, results in recruiting military and veteran students, and academic accreditations.
A detailed list of Military Friendly Schools will be highlighted in the annual Guide to Military Friendly Schools and on a poster, both of which will be distributed to hundreds of thousands of active and former military personnel in September. A new website, found at www.militaryfriendlyschools.com, will launch in September with interactive tools and search functionality to assist military veterans in choosing schools that best meet their educational needs.
About G.I. Jobs
G.I. Jobs (www.gijobs.com) is published by Victory Media, a veteran-owned business headquartered in Pittsburgh. The company also publishes The Guide to Military Friendly Schools, Military Spouse and Vetrepreneur magazines and annually rates the nation’s “Military Friendly Employers,” “Military Spouse Friendly Employers” and “Best Corporations for Veteran-Owned Businesses.”
The 2010 Military Friendly School List can be found at www.militaryfriendlyschools.com/mfspr