Many people who separate from military service or return back from deployments choose college as an option to solidify their future. One organization that has assisted thousands of veterans, servicemembers, and their families is Student Veterans of America (SVA).
Founded in 2008 by student veterans, this organization has over 500 chapters at higher educational institutions in the US and overseas. While the bulk of these chapters reside at public universities and community colleges, SVA also has a strong presence among Ivy League institutions and other private colleges, including for profit institutions. There are even virtual chapters for students attending online programs. According to their website (www.studentveterans.org), the mission of the organization is… “To provide military veterans with the resources, support, and advocacy needed to succeed in higher education and following graduation. ”
Returning to civilian life for any military member can be a confusing or even a traumatic experience, but the complications of registering, navigating, and establishing a routine around a college education can be overwhelming. Most veterans admit they felt more at home in the military, even in combat, than they did when they first arrived at the institution of choice. Thanks to SVA, many are made aware of the student veteran organizations even before they arrive on campus, so the contacts are made and the camaraderie of a common military experience lays a great foundation for getting acclimated to college life.
Thousands of student veterans will be storming college campuses over the next few years. Currently over 800,000 are enrolled in higher education using the post 9/11 GI Bill, and that does not include those veterans and servicemembers using other financial sources to obtain their chosen credential. Student Veterans of America provides a valuable resource to these students by helping to orient, encourage, and provide support from transition to graduation and beyond.
SVA also advocates for issues and legislation related to veterans employment. The theme of their annual conference is “Combating Veterans Unemployment” and will take place December 8-10 in Las Vegas, NV. More information on the organization can be found at www.studentveterans.org and individuals interested in attending the National Conference can register here.
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