As the university enters its second academic year under the Yellow Ribbon Program, GW leaders and staff met with the student veteran community today for an orientation.
GW has budgeted up to $2.8 million for the program, part of the GI Bill which supports higher education for veterans, over the next academic year, an amount that the Department of Veterans Affairs will match dollar for dollar. As of two weeks ago, 237 student veterans had signed up for the program.
Speaking at the orientation, which drew an audience of about 85, GW President Steven Knapp said there are two main roles the university’s Office of Veteran Services can play: easing the transition for veterans from combat to civilian and academic life and to provide opportunities for non-veteran students to learn from the “richness” and “depth” of veterans’ experience.
“I’ve been very gratified to see the role veteran students have played in showing fellow students what is the hallmark of service at the university,” said GW President Steven Knapp at the orientation.
Ryan Bos, the new president of GW Student Vets, also spoke at the event in a program that included presentations by GW’s certification, financial aid and student accounts officers and student services professionals.
“My goal for this year is to work with the university to make sure it continues to be one of the most veteran-friendly schools in the country,” said Mr. Bos, a senior majoring in political science, in an interview.
The orientation was designed to advise student veterans on the services that are available to them and to ease their transitions, according to Mr. Bos.
Mary Waring, M.A. ’10, the university’s new veterans services coordinator, also attended the event.
“With the introduction of the new full-time coordinator position for veteran services and benefits, GW continues its commitment to supporting individuals with military experience through access and achievement in higher education,” said Ms. Waring.
An alumna of the Graduate School of Education and Human Development, where she studied student veteran transitional and support models, Ms. Waring has worked at the School of Medicine and Health Sciences for the past three years.
GW’s Office of Veteran Services has been recognized for its outreach to student veterans. GI Jobs magazine called the university a “military-friendly institution” in 2010 and 2009. More than 500 people with military experience have been certified by the Department of Veterans Affairs for educational benefits for the fall semester.