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From Combat To College: UNLV Stepping Up Services To Assist Veterans, Military Members
From tuition assistance and campus training to on-site Veterans Administration support and specialized recruitment, UNLV is increasing its services for student veterans and active-duty personnel. UNLV was recently named a VetSuccess campus by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and designated a military friendly school by G.I. Jobs Magazine for the fourth consecutive year.
An estimated 1,267 active duty, reservists, National Guard members, veterans and their dependents attend UNLV as of fall 2013. Of this, 916 have received tuition benefits from the Post 9/11 G.I. Bill.
“A million veterans are expected to return from serving in the military, many of whom are calling Southern Nevada home and are pursing educational goals,” said Ross Bryant, director of the UNLV Office of Veteran Services. “UNLV’s outreach to the growing military and veteran population and their families ensures their transition from combat to campus is as smooth as possible. We want to help all the veterans coming back and help heroes build their future.”
The UNLV Office of Veteran Services helps veterans, active duty military members and families successfully navigate the academic and administrative pathways of a college education. The office processes enrollment certification for students to receive their G.I. Bill. In addition, the office links students to financial aid resources, campus and community organizations and employment opportunities for veterans. The office also advises the UNLV Student Veterans Organization.
UNLV is among 62 new VetSuccess campuses designated by the U.S Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Through VetSuccess, a VA employee is assigned to each school to ensure veterans’ health, education and VA benefits are met. Campuses are selected based on the size of their student veteran population among other factors. There are 94 VetSuccess campuses across the U.S.
The UNLV Office of Veterans Services launched recruitment visits this fall at military bases across the region and in Las Vegas to recruit students. After a five-year hiatus, UNLV has returned to Nellis Air Force base to recruit active duty military and their families and the university plans to restart undergraduate classes beginning summer or fall 2014. A UNLV advisor is at the base every week to provide information about the university and admissions process.
In September 2013, UNLV was named a military friendly school for the fourth consecutive year by G.I. Jobs, a magazine for military personnel transitioning into civilian life. The 2014 Military Friendly Schools List honors the top 15 percent of colleges, universities and trade schools that embrace America’s military service members, veterans and spouses. The list includes a survey of more than 3,000 student veterans from schools approved by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs who provided feedback on their college experiences.
UNLV also made the 2014 list of top military friendly colleges and universities in the publication Military Advanced Education. The list of schools will be published in the December magazine.
The Nevada Legislature approved Assembly Bill 260 during the 2013 legislative session, which grants Nevada residency to all veterans who were honorably discharged within two years of separation. This helps military service-members with the cost of tuition and fees at UNLV. They can now get the Nevada resident rate instead of paying the out-of-resident rate.
UNLV also participates in the Yellow Ribbon Program. For veterans and their family members who do not meet Nevada’s in-state residency requirements, the Yellow Ribbon Fund is available to help cover the costs. The Yellow Ribbon Fund is a federal program, which provides matching funds up to $100,000 per year, with 100 percent of all proceeds going to student veterans. It is designed to assist returning veterans with a financial grant to pay expenses not covered by the G.I. Bill.
Working with the Yellow Ribbon Foundation, the UNLV Office of Veterans Services raised $42,000 in private donations for the 2013-2014 academic year. With VA matching funds, the office has $84,000 in the UNLV Yellow Ribbon fund, which is a key safety net to assist those veterans and military family members who do not qualify for the new Nevada residency law.
The UNLV Office of Veteran Services hosts monthly on-campus trainings for UNLV faculty and staff to help the UNLV community understand the needs and challenges of student veterans. The one-hour training provides an overview about resources available on campus so employees can connect student veterans to the appropriate departments. About 200 faculty and staff members have received the training.
The UNLV Office of Veteran Services and UNLV Student Veterans Organization will organize an annual Walk to Remember event honoring those serving and to honor soldiers who have died on Wed., Nov. 13, 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. at UNLV’s Pida Plaza in front of the student union. It is free and open to the public. More information on the walk is available on the UNLV website.
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