Navigate the landscape of higher education in Colorado.
Currently, and for a number of years to come. Veterans will be attending institutions of higher education following their military careers. An institution can create an environment that is more than Veteran Friendly, it can be Veteran Supportive. We have listed a few programs and initiatives, both Colorado and national, that we have found to be effective in meeting the needs of Veterans. An institution does not need to have all of these in place and certainly not all are applicable to everyone.
What is a Colorado Institution of Higher Learning?
This can be a 2 or 4 year Colorado college, Colorado university or any vocational
school in Colorado. Examples include the University of Colorado Denver, Lamar
Community College and the Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design.
What is a Colorado Public University/ Private Not for Profit University/
Private for Profit University?
Public universities and public colleges in Colorado receive a small portion of their funding from the state and were set up by the state to serve communities throughout Colorado. Private Not for Profit schools were also started to server the wider public and while they may be more expensive than state schools, they tend to focus on specific areas of education. Private for Profit schools have generated a lot of controversy lately, with many students not obtaining skills that will actually assist them in finding employment. That said, some are good and have specific technical training and high placement rates upon graduation. So, take a look and get to know them.
As you research CO universities, CO colleges, & other institutes of higher education in CO:
Is there a strong Veteran Student Organization?
Many schools support and foster a Student Veteran Organization or clubs on their campuses. These are important groups that provide the Veteran with a network of fellow students who share many similar experiences, use the same terminology and understand the transition you are going through.
Does the School offer a Yellow Ribbon Program?
Schools who sign up to participate in the Yellow Ribbon Program provide a set amount to help cover books, fees and even a portion of the tuition to student veterans, when fees and tuition exceed the amount covered by the VA. This funding is then matched by the VA, on top of GI Bill Benefits.
Does the School have a Designated Certifying Official?
A Certifying Official ensures that the correct paperwork is submitted to the VA every semester/term. This is key and you should look for institutions that identify and maintain a full time certifying official.
Does the School offer Priority Registration?
The Post 9-11 GI Bill is a great program as it not only pays tuition but also a living stipend. However, it is only good for a total of 36 months, which means student veterans must complete their degrees within that time. As many classes that are required for degrees fill up quickly, a number of schools allow veterans to move to the front of the registration line so they can finish on time.
Does the School offer Military Transfer Credits?
While many schools offer some credits for military training and experience, many times this is only for Physical Education. A number of schools now offer direct credit for some military training. Find out what type of credit you can get for your experience.
Does the School offer Deadline Extensions?
Many Veterans leave the service with insufficient time to make standard registration deadlines. Be sure to check deadlines, and if needed, whether the school you want to attend offers Deadline Extensions.
Does the School offer Scholarships for Veterans?
While the Post 9-11 GI Bill typically covers tuition for most schools, for some schools, particularly private institutions, this is not the case. Further, other GI Bill chapters such as Chapters 33 and the Montgomery GI Bill are not as robust as the Post 9-11 GI Bill. A number of colleges offer special scholarships for student veterans or small scholarships, which are matched by the VA.
Does the School offer a Veterans Upward Bound Program?
This is a program designed to motivate and assist veterans in the development of academic and other requisite skills necessary for acceptance and success in college. The program provides assessment and assistance in developing basic skills through counseling, mentoring, tutoring and academic instruction in the core subject areas. The primary goal of the program is to increase the rate at which participants enroll in and complete postsecondary education programs.
Does the School offer Mentoring?
As in the service when you are assigned to a new installation and have a sponsor show you around the post/base, many schools assign upper class veterans to new students to show them the ropes on campus. This is a great way to really find out what’s going on around your new community.
Does the School offer Academic Support?
Simply put: tutoring services for students and specifically Veterans.
Does the School have Counselors with PTSD/TBI Training?
See if the school you plan to attend has counseling staff or access to counseling staff who have experience with various issues impacting Veterans, including PTSD or TBI. Even if you do not have issues, it is important that school counselors have an understanding of how both issues can impact student veterans and know what allowances should be sought for testing.
Does the School offer VA Work Study?
Schools often utilize works study programs that can be a good source for additional employment while you are in school. The number of applicants selected will depend on the availability of VA-related work at your school or at VA facilities in your area. Veterans with service-connected disabilities of at least 30% may be given priority consideration.
Does the School offer the SALUTE Program?
This is the National Student Veteran Honor Society designed to recognized student veterans for doing well in school. This organization started in Colorado and is now nation-wide. You’ve worked hard so get credit and recognition.
Does the School have a Student Veteran Center?
Let’s face it, as a student Veteran you are going to be older and may want to escape the buzz created by many of the 18 year olds surrounding you. Many schools now have a space where veterans can escape the noise, study and hang out with fellow veterans. The best offer study areas, computer access and, of course, coffee.
Does the School offer Veterans Housing?
A number of colleges across the country have now set up wings of dormitories or houses with multiple apartments for Veterans. San Diego State University and Arizona State University are key examples of this. You may or may not want to partake but it may be of interest.