It’s no secret that the transition from military life back to all things civilian can be rough, to say the least. Although the mentality and skillset veterans take away from the service typically helps prepare them for many of life’s challenges, they can also bring on feelings of alienation by causing vets to focus on how dissimilar they are to the rest of society.


Many veterans face an uphill battle when it comes reuniting with family, tackling the job market, rebuilding a social life, etc. And for veterans seeking a college degree, the feelings of isolation brought on by campus life in particular can be all too daunting.


Fortunately, more and more colleges are recognizing the particular set of challenges faced by student veterans and are working hard to develop effective resources and offer support. We’re about to look at some of the most vet-friendly colleges in the U.S and find out what makes them that way.

<h2>Stanford University, Stanford, CA</h2>

Stanford has been leading the pack lately by not only establishing two outstanding veterans support groups, but also by implementing a financial policy that allows eligible student veterans to keep up to $10,000 of their VA housing allowance and use it towards other expenses, like graduate school or the extra costs of having a family.


Founded in 2014, Stanford’s Office for Military-Affiliated Communities (OMAC) exists to serve as a three-way liaison between the university, student veterans and the VA; helping vets apply for and manage their VA education benefits; and connecting all military-affiliated students (U.S. or international) with each other and the faculty who teaches them.


The Stanford Graduate School of Business (GSB) has its own Veterans Club, which provides assistance to prospective military candidates, career information, alumni veteran support and a feeling of camaraderie similar to that found in the service.

<h2>Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ</h2>

Student veterans in need of support, advocacy and fellowship need look no further than ASU’s Pat Tillman Center, named for the late ASU sports star, alum and American hero who turned down a multimillion-dollar contract with the Arizona Cardinals to join the U.S. Army, ultimately losing his life during a 2004 ambush in Afghanistan.


Each of ASU’s four main campuses houses its own Pat Tillman Center, with phone support available to online and Lake Havasu student veterans. Services include assistance with VA benefits, financial aid, scholarships, etc., and the centers offer group meeting spaces, a lounge and computer study stations.


ASU not only offers several military-based scholarships, including the ASU Veterans Education Fund, the Arizona Tuition Waiver Scholarship, the Marine Corps Scholarship, Tillman Scholarships and Online Military Scholarship, but is also involved in Veterans Upward Bound, which provides eligible veterans wanting to transition to college with free academic tutoring, online instruction, assistance with financial aid, help with scholarship applications, etc.

<h2>University of South Florida, Tampa, FL</h2>

USF’s Office of Veteran Success utilizes student veterans to assist their more than 2,000 peers with anything they might need. The also joined forces with the VA in 2009 to form the VetSuccess program, which helps veterans make the transition to both college and work environments by providing resources like a full-time Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor and a part-time VetCenter counselor.


In addition, USF’s “Strategy for VetSuccess” class offers student veterans insight into relevant university and VA issues, while the Veteran Achievement Center (VAC) provides them with both social and academic encouragement.

<h2>Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH</h2>

With three on-campus groups dedicated to veteran students, Dartmouth takes the military-to-civilian transition seriously, which is further evidenced by its participation in the Posse Veterans Program, a partnership that currently includes three other colleges and can help provide full tuition for up to 500 eligible veterans annually.


Student veterans groups include the Dartmouth Undergraduate Veterans Association (DUVA), the Dartmouth Graduate Veterans Association and the Dartmouth Uniformed Service Alumni (DUSA). In this way, the college supports its military-affiliated students through each and every stage of their academic careers and beyond.

<h2>San Diego State University, San Diego, CA</h2>

A forerunner in recognizing the distinctive needs of student veterans, SDSU opened the first Veterans Center in the California University System in 2008. Today, the center employs over 20 VA work-study students whose job it is to provide their peers with support and assistance.


In addition, SDSU is home to a Student Veteran Organization, a Veteran Alumni Association and a Student Veterans House, where vets and their families can relax, socialize, network, attend workshops, etc. We should also mention that the university offers several other incentives to veterans, including course credit for basic training.

<h2>Cornell University, Ithaca, NY</h2>

Along with over 12 other illustrious institutions (including Harvard, MIT, Notre Dame and Princeton), Cornell partners with VetLink, which is an organization that provides free, highly valuable admissions counseling and ongoing support to veterans who are interested in attending some of the nation’s top schools.


Cornell also boasts a Student Veterans Advocate Office, which serves as a direct link between students, Cornell, the VA, the Department of Defense, etc.; as well as the Cornell Undergraduate Veterans Association; the Warrior-Scholar Project (a multi-school academic workshop); and an Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans With Disabilities (EBV).

<h2>We’ve Only Scratched the Surface</h2>

As we’ve mentioned, colleges and universities across the country are concerning themselves with veterans issues in ever-increasing numbers, and demonstrating their awareness in proactive and creative ways.


An internet search or even a phone call is a great way to find out what might be offered by the school or schools in which you’re interested. Of course, when it comes to the admissions process, receiving benefits and/or applying for financial aid, you’ll want to make sure you have a copy of your DD-214 form, especially if you’re not enrolled with the VA.

<h2>But What If My DD-214 Was Lost, Destroyed, Stolen or Never Received?</h2>

You’re not alone. Every day, the National Archives receives thousands of mailed requests for long-lost discharge papers. And, while they do the best they can, their agents are often overwhelmed and, as a result, not in the biggest hurry.


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