St. Thomas has been recognized as a Military Friendly School for the second straight year.

The designation is an extension of the Military Friendly survey – a comprehensive review of college and university investments in serving military and veteran students – and reflects a measurement of St. Thomas’ support for veteran students across many areas.

“It just proves how committed the university is,” said Norm Ferguson, St. Thomas director of veteran services. “It’s not doublespeak; we mean what we’re saying. There’s proof we are making the strides that we committed to.”

Beyond the opening of the Veterans Resource Center in November 2017, a huge range of programming and events have come forward alongside comprehensive support for veteran students. All of the ongoing efforts work toward President Julie Sullivan’s stated goal of making St. Thomas the most veteran-friendly campus in the Upper Midwest.

“Things have happened quickly,” Ferguson said. “That things are happening quickly shows how serious the school is about what they want to do for student veterans. The opening of the center; the entire school is a Yellow Ribbon School. That information is getting out to other people. The word about St. Thomas is spreading, which is exciting.”

St. Thomas will host on Feb. 25 a PTSD awareness conference with a wide range of information around the complex topic. The event is free to all St. Thomas students, faculty and staff, and offers continuing education credits for professionals.

“There are many mental health conferences; as far as we know this is the only one that focuses specifically on PTSD in Minnesota,” Ferguson said. “We’re hoping this will be a strong, positive experience for everyone who attends.”

Wide range of measurements

St. Thomas exceeded the standard for all areas of Military Friendly’s survey, which includes academy policies and compliance; admissions and orientation; culture and commitment; financial aid and assistance; graduation and career; and military student support and retention.

The survey also highlighted some of the many specific components of those measurements St. Thomas offers, including:

Student support

  • Academic advising
  • Financial aid counseling
  • Career planning services
  • Mental health counseling
  • Accommodations for military students with disabilities
  • Full-time veteran counselors or advisers on staff
  • Veteran-to-veteran peer mentoring program
  • Online clubs or associations for military service members or veterans
  • Dedicated social space for gathering (e.g., a student lounge or veteran center) reserved specifically for military service members and veterans
  • Campus and social networking events planned specifically for veterans
  • Specialized career guidance counseling or other programs to help military students identify careers to pursue
  • Industry-employer relationship programs available to active duty military students and veterans to assist with postgraduate employment outcomes

Admissions

  • Waives the admission application fee for military students and veterans
  • ACT or SAT test scores required for admission
  • Awards college credit for passing scores on CLEP exam
  • Awards college credit for passing scores on DSST exam
  • Award college credit for military training and experience according to the ACE recommendation guidelines
  • Provide admissions events or special admissions information sessions customized for prospective students who are military service members
  • Customized student orientation program for military students
  • Mentoring and onboarding programs for new military students or veterans

Government programs

  • Approved for Post-9/11 GI Bill
  • Committed to the 8 Keys to Veterans’ Success
  • Signed the VA’s Principles of Excellence for serving veterans and service members
  • Utilize the Federal Financial Aid Shopping Sheet
  • Armed Forces Tuition Assistance (TA) Funding
  • Department of Defense Voluntary Education Partnership Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for Tuition Assistance
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