People who come from poor backgrounds can get grants to attend college; students with high IQ’s can attain scholarships at any university of their liking; but where do veterans go for theirs?
NKU has been recently ranked at 48 on the list of National Best for Vets List for 2014. The university’s has acquired this outstanding ranking due to the diverse and unique programs offered by the Veteran’s Resource Station.
According to Dave Merriss, director of the Veterans Resource Station, no schools north of Kentucky are continually having a committee that constantly looks at how their school is helping its Veterans.
“We want to create a culture of trust and connection in the community so we can promote the well-being and success of Veterans,” said Merriss.
NKU has developed an organization, Norse Veterans for Education and Transition Support (NVETS), which is designed for the sole purpose of easing veterans into the transitional phase of college life.
According to NVETS, the website states; They are a veteran led group in support of veterans who provide a social group and support structure to help these veterans become successful in college life. The organization provides mentorship, guidance, counseling and raise awareness for veterans issues while disseminating information to veterans. They promote community service on projects and events pertaining to veterans needs and issues. NVETS also promote college spirit and integrate veterans into campus life while establishing professional networks to aid veterans in obtaining their goals.
NKU has implemented a number of programs to entice Veterans to attend our institution. These programs vary from student veteran social work internship partnerships to VET Connect campus in processing, education and monitoring.
VET Connect is designed to help other Veterans navigate through college and learn university language.
With an influx of Veterans coming to NKU, the institution has increased and diversified their services to better accommodate these ex servicemen and women.
NKU offers a resource station as one of these services, which is the advocacy and a public advocate at university, community, state and federal levels and includes the primary point of contact to serve student veterans, military service members and their families.
Not only does NKU help Veterans who served the United States in the military, they also do something unique in where they accept scholarships for family members of those veterans.
According to Merriss, in 2008 there were 200 educational benefits used by Veterans to attend NKU, where as 2014 there have been an increase to over 500 educational benefits.
The National Military Family Association (NMFA), an organization that offers scholarships for members of the military, can be used to attend NKU.
According to NMFA, the mission of these scholarship programs is to help prepare military spouses for meaningful employment and to better contribute to their family’s financial security.
Under some grants by the government some Veterans at NKU can receive up to $1,200 dollars in pocket from the government and a $1,000 for book money.
NKU has used specific programs to recruit Veterans, such as the Army Concurrent Admissions partnership program, Coordination with military Transition Assistance, Participation at college fairs to include Fort Knox, Wright Patterson Air Force Base Joint Army/AF/National Guard liason, referral and recruitment activities, and Participation in greater Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky community veteran events.
According to Merriss the biggest recruiting tool is fellow Veterans. “Veterans who recruit other veterans are our best spokesmen and women,” said Merriss.
For Veterans to transition to college life, NKU has implemented positions such as peer mentors who can help with this transition period.
Caleb Clifton, Peer Mentor for the Veterans Research Station, has helped steer veterans in the right direction since coming to NKU.
“Be a mentor, be successful,” said Clifton in regards to what is important about his position to veterans.
Clifton, who has served in the United States Air Force for four years, 3 in Wyoming and 1 in Korea, has began efforts to create a veteran fraternity on NKUs campus. Currently he has 11 people who are signed up for the fraternity, where 10 people must be signed to begin a chapter.
Clifton decided to propose this fraternity to Geek life as he knew how hard it is for veterans to connect with the younger demographic students.
“It’s hard for veterans to relate and connect with younger students,” said Clifton.