University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point Deemed Veteran-friendly School
Sarah McQueen
smcqu643@uwsp.edu

The University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point has made G.I. Jobs’s list of Military Friendly Schools and placed it in their top 15 percent of colleges, universities and trade schools in the country for the third year in a row.

G.I. Jobs magazine is the premier publication for those transitioning from the military. G.I. Jobs is dedicated to helping veterans be successful after they are done serving in the military. The list of military-friendly schools is one aspect of G.I. Jobs intended to aid veterans in deciding where to go to school.

UWSP was selected to be on this list due to a number of factors, including being a Veteran Affairs (VA) approved school, offering social support for veterans. UWSP also has a full-time staff dedicated to assisting veterans.  There are currently over 325 veterans attending UWSP.

VA Coordinator Ann Whipp works full time at UWSP to help make it as easy as possible for veterans to attend school here.

“UWSP values that we have someone that’s dedicated to help veterans get their benefits. But it’s not just that. Ann will help them if they have not seen admissions yet or if they are having trouble with financial aid and a variety of other issues,” said Ed Lee, Associate Registrar.

One of the aspects of UWSP that may appeal to veterans is the Veterans Club, a place where veterans can socialize with each other in a comfortable atmosphere. The Veterans Club holds regular events and social gatherings, like ice fishing tournaments or weekly trivia.

“We have lot of different life experiences and are a little bit different than the average college student. So when we come here we feel a little out of place, like we don’t really quite belong. This kind of gives that atmosphere where you belong,” said David Herman, president of the Veterans Club.

UWSP attempts to accommodate veterans in many different ways, like making exceptions for the Veterans Club logo. Earlier this year the Veterans Club was denied use of their logo because it had the silhouette of a rifle. University rules state that no logo may portray firearms. The Veterans Club went to Al Thompson, the Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs, and requested that an exception be made. Thompson stated that he understood and that he wanted this to be a veteran-friendly campus. The Veterans Club was given permission to use the logo.

UWSP works to ensure that students who are deployed will have as easy a time as possible leaving and returning to school. Lee stated that when soldiers are called up they are held academically and financially harmless. The school also works to ensure that upon their return they will be able to register in the classes they need to at the same time as their peers.

Some veteran students believe that there is still room for the university to improve.

“While things have gotten much better for vets over the years, it would be nice to see our hard-earned and invaluable knowledge be given more than just a few gym credits,” said Aaron Boodle, who served in the Navy as a Petty Officer 3rd class.

UWSP does not grant credit for courses with American Council on Education (ACE) credit recommendations at the associate degree or lower-division baccalaureate level, for course work that is military-specific in nature, or for military occupational specialties.

“We abide by the ACE guidelines. And we accept upper-level baccalaureate credits. Not much of it is recommended at the lower level, though. Another thing we do, like many campuses, is with proof of their military training, they get a couple of credits in P.E.,” Lee said.

 UWSP veteran students have rated this school on G.I. Jobs’s website, and the numbers speak for themselves. 14 veterans rated this school based on veteran resources, school resources, faculty, school environment and career services. Based on a 4.0 scale, the scores ranged between 3.4 and 3.7.

“My personal opinion is that the school is does a pretty good job. When we have the GI bill, college is paid for. What’s nice about the school is that they kind of take care of everything for you. You say you want to come to school here using the GI bill, and you just kind of come to class,” Herman said. “They make going to school here effortless.”