Student Vets Find Colleges Lack Proper Assimilation Programs
For many student veterans returning home from tours in Iraq or Afghanistan, beginning a college career is similar to being deployed overseas. Everyone seems to speak a different language; there are rules and regulations that are hard to understand at best; most of the only relatable people are your military peers next to you.
Student veterans face challenges that most students don’t. From understanding the GI Bill to finding military-friendly schools to relating to other students not facing the same mental and emotional obstacles, college life isn’t always it’s cracked up to be for veteran students. Many of them are finding it difficult just to get straight answers from school admission offices. Many of them face mental and emotional instability daily, making it hard to meet friends and live normally.
Since the enactment of the Post-9/11 GI Bill, granting full tuition costs for vets enlisted since September 11, 2001, American colleges and universities have and will continue to see a rise in student veterans. Some don’t know how to assimilate to their new student demographic. They don’t understand the needs these particular students require in order to progress.
Luckily, that is changing, but not as quickly as some students would hope. Veteran students are pushing forward, electing to help themselves than wait around for someone else to do it for them. They form support groups for other student veterans and informal fraternities such as the Black Knights.
Dr. John Greden, director of the Depression Center at the University of Michigan said, “I think as a society we’ve got to really bend over backwards to make their local community responsible for helping (veterans). And for those who are students, the university is part of their local community.”