Victory Media, the publisher of G.I. Jobs and other periodicals addressing issues of workforce development for veterans, has designated SUNY New Paltz a Military Friendly® School in its 2016 annual list. The honor is reserved for top U.S. colleges, universities and trade schools that embrace military-affiliated students and dedicate resources to ensure their success in the classroom and after graduation.
“We want to provide the highest quality of services possible to every student veteran, service member and dependent we encounter, to show that we care for our heroes and their families,” said Jason Gilliland, coordinator of Veteran and Military Services. “Our inclusion in the G.I. Jobs Military Friendly® survey shows that we care enough about this population to change our campus culture to meet the needs of these students. It’s what they teach us in the military to do: constantly try to improve oneself, one’s team and one’s position, and that is why we keep striving to improve our services.”
Military Friendly® status is conferred upon institutions that achieve high marks through a rigorous, data-driven application process, which includes a survey of performance on benchmarks including support available to military students on campus, graduation and employment outcomes and policies regarding spouses and family members of military personnel and veterans.
By joining the ranks of Military Friendly® Schools, SUNY New Paltz is identified as a pre-vetted standard of excellence for post-military success. With more than a decade of published ratings, Victory Media’s Military Friendly® lists are viewed as the objective standard within the military community.
“Post-secondary institutions earning the 2016 Military Friendly® School award have exceptionally strong programs for transitioning service members and spouses,” said Daniel Nichols, Chief Product Officer of Victory Media and Navy Reserve veteran. “Our Military Friendly® Schools are truly aligning their military programs and services with employers to help students translate military experience, skills and training into successful careers after graduation.”
This is just the most recent recognition New Paltz has garnered for its efforts to integrate military service members, veterans and dependents into the life of the College. Earlier this fall, New Paltz ranked 18th on the U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Colleges for Veterans” list among North Regional Universities.
At New Paltz, these successes stem from cross-campus efforts to welcome and assist military students in their time at New Paltz. The focal point for many of these efforts and for the students who depend on them is the Office of Veteran & Military Services, which opened less than two years ago. Since then, veteran and military student enrollment at New Paltz has grown from about 60 to more than 190 students.
The Office of Veteran and Military Services supports and guides military service members, veterans and dependents in pursuing higher education, including: assisting with GI Bill benefits; military tuition assistance (TA); veteran scholarships; general questions regarding Department of Veteran Affairs’ issues; and free parking permits for military and veteran students.
The Office has helped organize programs and events specifically tailored to military and dependent students, such as a spring semester collaboration with the Department of Theatre Arts that brought a dramatization of the discharge process to the Parker Theatre stage, and the inauguration of a new Veteran, Military and Dependent Mentoring program, which connects military students with faculty, staff and student peers in one-on-one arrangements to help ease the transition to the life and responsibilities of a student.