Clarkson College



Like other students, veterans and active-duty service members gain most from a distance education that is affordable, accessible and well-regarded. Clarkson College, a private, non-profit health care-focused college in Omaha, Nebraska, strives year-after-year to meet and improve upon those expectations. In 2013, U.S. News & World Report ranked Clarkson College No. 1 out of 101 eligible institutions across the nation in the category of Best Online Graduate Nursing Programs for Veterans.

James Simmons, M.S.N., R.N., served in the U.S. Army from 1981–2010 and is now a current graduate student in the Master of Science in Nursing program at Clarkson College. A fellow Army Nurse Corps officer of Simmons’ graduated from Clarkson College, and recommended the school to him for advancing his career in order for him to become a family nurse practitioner. The flexibility of the program and expertise level of the faculty, in comparison to other colleges, stood out to James.

“The program structure allows me to work at my own pace, yet is suitable for achieving the course requirements,” Simmons said. “Its design allows for interaction with other students on a daily basis, thereby enhancing the learning experience. I am able to receive constant feedback from my instructors in a timely manner.”

On top of a high-quality, accredited education, Simmons is also thankful for the tuition and fees benefits package he receives for his education. “My post 9-11 GI Bill, along with the Yellow Ribbon (YR) program, pays for of my tuition and fees. For that, I am grateful.”

Clarkson College students receive their benefits through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) or military, depending on their service, branch, dates, tenure, active-duty, etc. “The students provide documentation of their qualifying benefits, and our Students Accounts Manager and Certifying Official, Marty Povondra, ensures the students receive the educational benefits for which they are eligible,” said Margie Harris, Director of Student Financial Services at Clarkson College.

The maximum benefit paid by the VA has increased to $19,198.31 per academic year per student. For those veterans who qualify for YR benefits, Clarkson College has contracted with the VA to provide a dollar-for-dollar match to cover part of the difference between the base education benefit provided by the VA and the student’s tuition and fee costs. For example, if a student’s tuition and fees charges are $6,200 and the VA education benefits pay $4,000, the remaining balance of $2,200 would be split between the Clarkson College YR program and the VA’s YR program. “One of the goals of the YR program is to ensure the student doesn’t have to pay out-of-pocket tuition and fee expenses,” Harris said.

Alongside being certified for the GI Bill and participating in the YR program, Clarkson College also offers credit-granting courses listed in the Defense Activities for Non-Traditional Education Support (DANTES) Catalog of Nationally Accredited Distance Learning Programs, and is a member of the Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges (SOC) Consortium.

Now, one year into the MSN program, Simmons expresses he couldn’t be more pleased with his decision to attend Clarkson College. Currently living in Cibolo, Texas with his wife, an active-duty Army Nurse Corps officer, and two children, Simmons hopes to work in an underserved area on the northeast side of San Antonio after graduating in December, 2014.

Sullivan University System: Creating a Culture for Success


By Debbie Gregory.

The Sullivan University System was established in 1962 by A.O. Sullivan and his son, A.R. Sullivan, as a one year business college. The Sullivan family still heads the school, in what is now the largest career college in the commonwealth of Kentucky. The school educates approximately 7,000 students, with almost 800 of these students from the military community.

Sullivan has six campuses, as well as online programs, which provide a broad array of vocational certificates, and degree programs ranging from Associates to PhDs. Sullivan University is one of only two schools in Kentucky that offer a Doctor of Pharmacy program. The school also offers a high profile culinary program as part of its National Center for Hospitality Studies. All of Sullivan’s graduates have lifetime access to their career resources network,  providing them  assistance with résumé writing, interviewing,  and employment leads. This ideology has made Sullivan a career starting point for many non-traditional students, including military Veterans.

Sullivan University System has been actively servicing the military community since 1982, when the Army leadership at Ft. Knox asked the faculty at Sullivan to train its cooks. Their dedication to serving those who have served continues through today, and is as substantial as ever.

Sullivan’s dedication to its Veteran students extends beyond lip service and special rates. Sullivan has a nine member board of Military and Veteran advisors, headed by Gen. Jim Shane, US Army (Retired).  Shane and the board advise the executive branch of the university on all matters pertaining to their military and Veteran students.

“Developing culture starts at the top. Chancellor Sullivan is dedicated to making Sullivan University a quality university that is intent on serving its military community,” Shane said. “All of the leadership here gets it. They listen to what is important, and then they act accordingly.”

General Shane explained how Veteran students come from the highly structured culture of the military, into the more independent culture of university life. Shane said that Sullivan University’s goal is to help its Veteran students with their transition to the university culture, aiding them in getting good grades, graduating, and helping them establish themselves in a successful career. Being integrated with the Army community at Ft. Knox, Sullivan prides itself on its service to the military, avoiding  a cookie-cutter education for Veteran students. “When it comes to education, one size does NOT fit all,” Shane said.

This Yellow Ribbon School has a set goal of finding ways for military students to receive a quality education with no out of pocket expenses. Sullivan offers tuition assistance in addition to a special discount, up to 44%, off the price of admission, based on individual needs. The school also offers academic, career and emotional counseling for Vets.

Sullivan deliberately does not provide its Veteran students with a Veterans-only lounge. Instead, the school provides an atmosphere intent on including its Veterans in all locations on their campuses, groups and functions. However, Sullivan does provide spaces that are dedicated to Veterans. On Veterans Day, 2010, at the main campus in Louisville, Chancellor Dr. A.R. Sullivan dedicated the school’s Veterans Plaza and Medal of Honor Memorial as a place of reflection and relaxation for all students.

Sullivan is committed to providing its students from the military community with a renowned education and a solid foundation on which to build their careers. invites prospective students to include Sullivan on their list of potential schools.

“Veteran School Salute” Award Launched by


Colleges, universities and trade schools that go above and beyond for their Military/Veteran students can now receive recognition for doing so. The inaugural “Veteran School Salute” awarded to D’Youville College. is proud to announce that they are presenting their first “Veteran School Salute” award. This award was conceived to recognize Veteran-friendly colleges, universities and vocational schools that go above and beyond in their efforts to provide premium education services for their Military, Veteran and military-dependent students.

There are approximately one million Veteran students nationwide who are currently attending institutions of higher learning and vocational schools using the education benefits earned through military service. These education benefits for Veterans, such as the Post 9/11 GI Bill, are one of the prime reasons why our young men and women enlist in the military. The GI Bills, including both the Post 9/11 GI Bill and Montgomery GI Bill, cover the cost of the tuition and fees that Veteran Students otherwise might not be able to afford. The Post 9/11 GI Bill also pays students a housing allowance that is tax free.

“Our Veterans have sacrificed so much for our nation so that we can live safely in the greatest nation in the world,” said Debbie Gregory, Founder & CEO of Military Connection. “They have more than earned the education benefits they receive for their military service.”

With so many Veterans using their education benefits, schools are competing for Veteran enrollments. And with so many schools to choose from, developed the “Veteran School Salute” in order to help Veteran students distinguish which schools are doing the most to put Veterans at the vanguard of their educational programs.

“Veterans have a choice when it comes to which school to attend,” Ms. Gregory said. “Our ‘Veteran School Salute’ is designed to show Veterans those schools that offer the most valuable education programs that best serve Veterans and cater to their specific needs .”

Military Connection is proud to announce D’Youville College as the inaugural recipient of the “Veteran School Salute.” D’Youville is a Yellow Ribbon School located in Buffalo, NY. The school has shown a dedicated commitment to their Veteran and military students. D’Youville has been a pioneer in developing innovative ways to serve those who have served. On top of recognizing and accepting various VA benefits and programs, the school offers its own grants and waivers to its Veteran Students. D’Youville’s treatment and consideration of their Veteran students proves that they truly put student Veterans first. is proud to award the “Veteran School Salute” to D’Youville College.

Only Veteran-friendly colleges, universities and vocational schools that go above and beyond are eligible to be awarded the “Veteran School Salute. If there is a school deserving of being “saluted” for its efforts in providing the best educational services for its Veteran Students, please let us know at [email protected]. We would love to recognize other schools so that Veterans will be cognizant of the very best schools for them.

Yellow Ribbon Program Helps Make College Free for Vets: Dartmouth College is Encouraging the Program


By Debbie Gregory.

The Yellow Ribbon Program was established by the Post 9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2008, and is a provision of the Post 9/11 (Chapter 33) GI Bill. The Yellow Ribbon Program offers Veteran Colleges and Veteran Universities the opportunity to create partnerships with The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) in order to fund tuition expenses. The program addresses out of state fees and higher tuition rates at private schools, which Veteran Students previously had to pay for out of their own pockets. Under the provision, Yellow Ribbon Schools can waive up to half of the expenses that exceed the tuition of the most expensive in-state public school, and the VA will match the amount waived by the institution.

Dartmouth College is one such Yellow Ribbon School, making all possible attempts to enable Veteran Students to attend their institution with no out of pocket expense. The school is one of many Veteran Schools that is working with the VA to help Veteran Students afford the finest education possible.

Dartmouth College President James Wright said in an interview with The Dartmouth, “I think this fully equalizes higher education opportunities for veterans.” Wright continued, “All they (Veteran Students) should have to think about is where they want to go to school, not where they can afford to go.”

Wright contributed to designing The Yellow Ribbon Program, believing that this program is a great improvement over previous benefits because it creates a structure in which more private universities, such as Dartmouth, can participate in the education of Veterans. Under previous benefits, private schools were too expensive for the allotted amount of benefits that Veteran Students received using either the Montgomery or Post 9/11 GI Bill.

In the final draft of the program, each Yellow Ribbon School has the ability to choose its own percentage of tuition cost that the institution will waive, as well as the maximum number of Veteran Students in which it will offer aid to.

According to school officials, none of Dartmouth’s schools intend to cap the number of Veteran Students, or provide less than 50 percent of the tuition left over after the VA’s initial contribution.

Diane Bonin, Director of financial aid at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth said, “We want to participate 100 percent in the Yellow Ribbon Program.”

For more information about The Yellow Ribbon Program, Veteran Schools and other education programs and benefits for current and former military and their families, please search our education information page at

Ahmanson Veteran Scholarship Initiative aids student veteran success


By Debbie Gregory.

A Los Angeles-based community organization has expanded its giving to provide over $1 million to California colleges to help veterans earn their degrees.

The Ahmanson Foundation has distributed grants to 25 private colleges and universities in California for the newly created Ahmanson Veteran Scholarship Initiative. The money has been earmarked specifically to recruit, retain and educate student veterans.

“These young men and women have done so much for this country, The Ahmanson Foundation is delighted to play a role in helping them re-start their education and assimilate back to their civilian lives,” said Foundation President, William H. Ahmanson.

For 60 years, the Ahmanson Foundation has funded cultural projects in the arts, humanities, education, and health care, as well as a wide range of human services to the residents of Los Angeles.

The organization’s veteran scholarship initiative for the 2013- 2014 school year will be dispersed among the 25 schools that range from small liberal arts colleges to large universities. The schools are allowed to allocate the funds as they see fit, and can use them in areas such as recruitment, outreach, tuition and creating veteran service centers on their campuses. The foundation designed the initiative to enable schools to provide veteran student support and help them graduate.

At Occidental College, the foundation money was combined with federal assistance to offer a full scholarship to a new veteran student. USC is using the funds to help veteran students enrolled in their School of Social Work’s military social work program.

After his school received grant money, Pepperdine University President Andrew K. Benton said, “This grant will enable us to better recruit, serve, and support the veterans by enhancing affordability, improving their educational experience, and more fully engaging them into the life of the University.”

Officials at the Ahmanson Foundation hope that their commitment to helping veterans attend and graduate will spread in other states and other organizations.

In addition to the money, the foundation has created a website to help veterans explore college opportunities in California. Visit the site at

Checking Out Veteran Schools


By Debbie Gregory.

Veteran schools and veteran colleges offer all types of educational options for veterans who are transitioning from the military.   Many veterans choose to go back to school instead of trying to obtain veteran employment in this challenging job market.   In fact education and the GI Bill are one of the three pillars of the new mandatory Transition GPS program for veterans.

Veteran unemployment is improving but is still higher than it should be especially for Post 9/11 Veterans.   Veteran Job Seekers realize that they can obtain better veteran jobs with additional education and specialized training.  The Post 9/11 GI Bill has been a huge revenue generator for schools offering veteran education programs.  There are all types of degrees and programs for veterans. It is important to choose an excellent veteran school, veteran college or veteran education program.

We encourage all veterans to look before they leap or enroll in any veteran school whether it be a brick and mortar veteran school or an online veteran school.  Many schools are aggressively marketing to military and veteran students.  It is important to distinguish the facts from the hype and make the best choice.

Select a school that offers a degree, license or certification that is recognized and respected in the industry you want to enter.  Many schools offer programs that are not accredited.    Make sure the veteran school or veteran college you are looking at is fully accredited.  Otherwise, you will be wasting the valuable veteran education benefits you have earned.

Veterans should also check out the completion rates at the schools they are researching.  High veteran completion rates will show that the school is the real deal and they are not just collecting tuition from veterans but want their veteran students to succeed and finish.   Also check out how many veterans attend the schools you are researching and if they recognize the special needs of veteran students and offer counseling.  See if they have a student veteran organization on campus with other veterans as mentors.  No one understands a veteran better than another veteran.  Sometimes it is challenging to adapt from  the disciplines of military  life to the more laid back environment of academia.

Make sure that you education benefits will cover the full cost of you’re the school of your choice and you won’t have to go into debt with loans.  We also encourage veterans to look at the placement rates at the veteran schools they are considering.  See what resources these veteran schools, veteran colleges or veteran vocational programs offer in finding valuable jobs.   Do your homework before enrolling in any veteran school.

Accredited Universities for Military Distance Learning Are An Excellent Option

By Debbie Gregory.

There are many choices for veteran and military accredited universities and colleges.  Many military accredited universities and colleges offer a variety of distance learning programs and distance education programs for military and veteran students.  Military accredited universities and colleges offer both undergraduate and graduate online programs.

Online veteran education is a very popular option today.  Many veterans previously were in the military and are used to taking distance military education courses.  The Post 9/11 GI Bill covers the cost of education for veterans including those enrolled in accredited online colleges and universities.  Additionally, vocational programs for military and veterans are also covered.  Many certificate programs for service members and veterans provide attractive options.

These programs range across the board.  They include but not limited to degreed programs for military and veterans as well as medical, HVAC, welding, truck and trailer driving certifications and much more.  Healthcare and trade courses are very excellent online options.

The Post 9/11 GI Bill provides in addition to tuition a housing allowance that is tax free based on the zip code of the school for an E-5 with dependents whether or not that is your rank or you have dependents.  You don’t have to attend a brick and mortar military accredited college or university to receive these housing benefits.  If you are attending an online accredited college or university for veterans and military, you still will receive a smaller tax free housing allowance of $700 a month.  There is also a $1,000 stipend to cover books and supplies regardless if you are attending an online distance education school or actually taking classes in person.

There are all types of accredited universities, colleges and trade schools for military and veterans One size does not fit all Many excellent accredited universities are dedicated to military distance education. Many schools cater to military and veterans. These trade schools, colleges and universities offer outstanding online education programs for veterans and military. Before selecting any school, make sure that the schools you are considering are accredited and offer the degree or certification required to obtain employment in your desired career. If you are interested in a specific university or college, locate their website or talk to a counselor about their military online education policies.

The GI Bill provides for a veteran’s education, and at Military Connection we provide information on all of the education veteran benefits available to you.  Learn about veteran schools, training programs, scholarship opportunities and more.  Use our tools and resources to jump start your education post-service.   Veterans have worked hard to earn this benefit and deserve the best education possible.