Veterans have experienced a world many civilians never even think about, whether they’ve been deployed abroad or simply weathered the rigors of training camp. When it comes time to leave the military, these experiences continue to offer immense value.
For example, many veterans have deep and rich leadership experience, are highly adept at working in stressful conditions, and know how to collaborate with people from all walks of life. Some boast foreign language skills, and many are knowledgeable about different cultures. Others are highly effective communicators who know how to break massive problems into manageable chunks. Military life teaches critical thinking skills, as well as rapid problem-solving. Additionally, veterans are highly resilient. After all, training to work in a war zone demands emotional control and deep intelligence.
Despite these immensely valuable skills, many veterans find that civilian life does not acknowledge their experiences or achievements. A veteran who once commanded a group in enemy territory or who won awards for bravery and leadership may find that, without the right letters after their name, these experiences count for little. Going back to school is a great investment for soldiers, and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) may cover all or a portion of the costs.
The good news is that veterans don’t only need to rely on the VA for support during their journey back to school. Some universities truly understand the value that a former service member brings to the classroom—and because of this, they offer services to help make the transition to civilian life a bit easier.
As you narrow your options and begin your search, prioritize academic institutions that treat you as an important member of their community. Here are the benefits that the best universities for veterans offer.
Credit for Prior Learning
When you enter school as a veteran, you may feel like you are starting from zero, especially if you went straight from high school to the military. But you’ve spent years honing valuable leadership, critical thinking, and communication skills. Universities that are truly committed to soldiers' success treat service members as the skilled, accomplished professionals they are. Ask about credit for life experience and prior learning, including any certifications you received in the military.
At SNU, veterans can get credit for their years of service. Our Prior Learning Assessment offers even more credit opportunities. Display your rich skills through this program, which offers up to 30 hours—a full academic year—of college credit at no cost to you.
Help with Financial Aid and GI Benefits
Most SNU students get financial assistance to attend school. Many are able to get enough money to cover the entire cost of attendance, including expenses such as books and transportation. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) through the U.S. Department of Education allows you to explore your grant and loan options. Our financial aid experts can help you complete this form, and because we offer rolling admissions, you can complete it as you begin your program.
- The Post-9/11 GI Bill, which offers up to 36 months of assistance that can cover tuition, books, housing, and other costs of attendance.
- The Montgomery GI Bill, which provides financial aid to soldiers with at least two years of active duty service. In 2019, you could get up to $2,050 per year.
- Support and retraining programs, such as the National Testing Program, the National Call to Service Program, and the Veterans Educational Assistance Program (VEAP).
Applying for veterans benefits can feel like navigating a complex maze of paperwork and bureaucracy. Our Office of Veteran Services takes the stress out of the process. We can help you complete your paperwork, assess your eligibility for various programs, and estimate your total out-of-pocket costs of attendance.
Lower Tuition and Scholarships
Today’s veterans value an excellent education, but many need more time to complete school than their civilian peers. The stress of returning to civilian life, the psychological effects of combat, and the challenges of balancing family, work, or school are very real. This may mean spending more over time on school or losing more wages from taking time off from work to go to college.
Schools that truly value veterans are eager to recruit and retain them. They understand that veterans may need additional support, while also appreciating the immense value that soldiers bring to their classes. Look for schools that offer tuition discounts, scholarships, and help applying for financial aid.
Online classes can be an extraordinary benefit for soldiers. Attending school from home may help ease the anxieties many veterans feel returning to civilian life. For retired military members with PTSD and other trauma-related conditions, in-person courses may be triggering or overwhelming. SNU’s online platform supports soldiers to learn at their own pace, in a setting that is both comfortable and academically rigorous.
Veterans attending school for the first time or returning to college after a long break have unique needs. They may struggle to feel a sense of belonging on a traditional campus, especially if most of their peers are new high school graduates. Some veterans struggle with anxiety, especially in large classrooms and crowded settings. Soldiers may feel that the skills they’ve spent many years mastering go unappreciated and unnoticed. Many feel bored transitioning from the chaos and unpredictability of military life to the quiet and often humdrum realities of higher learning.
Colleges that value service members don’t just direct them to an advisor or new student center. They boast a rich array of veteran-specific resources, such as scholarships, support groups, and staff who understand the military experience. The Veterans Educational Transitions Success Center at SNU acts as a one-stop-shop for soldiers transitioning to academic life.
A Community of Other Veterans
Traditional academic settings can feel foreign and unwelcoming to soldiers. New high school graduates are transitioning to adulthood and independence, while veterans have spent years serving the nation, commanding other soldiers, and navigating the complex realities of international politics, interpersonal communication, and more. You will feel less isolated if you attend school alongside other service members.
SNU caters to veterans, actively recruiting them and going above and beyond to retain them. Our cohort educational model means that you’ll take classes with a group of peers, some of whom will be other veterans. And because we cater to adult learners, you don’t have to worry about feeling out of place amid a sea of newly minted adults. We welcome you and your life experience, and we think you’ll find a rich network of soldier friends who can relate to your military life.
SNU’s Veteran Center
As a school that proudly works with veterans, SNU understands the unique challenges service members face when they return to school. We know you’ve already achieved much and that the right college can help you put your skills to practical use. Our Office of Veteran Services is deeply committed to the success of every soldier who considers enrolling at our school. We are home to one of just 13 of the Department of Education’s Veterans Educational Transitions Success Centers.
We happily accept American Council on Education (ACE) credit for military experience. As participants in the VA’s Principles of Excellence Program and endorsers of the 8 Keys to Veterans’ Success, we are leaders in the field of veterans’ education. Victory Media has named us a Military Friendly® school every year since 2015. We can help you apply to college, support you as you navigate the financial aid and GI Bill application process, and offer you the support you need at every step of your educational journey.
You’ve already served our nation. Now let us serve you. Reach out to learn how we can help you transition to a rewarding and meaningful civilian life.