Supporting Our Family
The U is host to more than 1,100 student veterans. U Vets have an average GPA of 3.3 and can be found in every undergraduate and graduate school at the U. Most U Vets are funding their education without the financial support of their parents, and some are parents themselves. Although the GI Bill can help, only about 60% of U Vets receive the full benefit of the GI Bill, and the benefit received by those who qualify for the maximum amount is more than $2,000 short of the cost of attendance each year.
GI Bill or not, U Vets live on shoestring budgets and make substantial sacrifices. For instance, a 6’4” Navy veteran had to rent a basement apartment with 6’ ceilings so that he could cover the cost of an extra semester at the U that would not be covered by the GI Bill. An Army National Guard veteran, after receiving partial GI Bill benefits for two years, was notified that the Veterans Affairs made a mistake, that she was actually ineligible for GI Bill benefits, and that she had to reimburse the VA for two years’ of tuition payments. Many veterans have families, work one or more jobs, or find ways to cut corners, such as replacing meals with crackers over extended periods of financial hardship or forgoing maintenance needed to keep their vehicles safe to drive.
When supported, student veterans have greater retention and graduation rates than traditional students. The U’s Veterans Support Center (VSC) helps veterans and their families enhance their overall academic success by providing a “one stop shop” for services, support, advocacy, and camaraderie. Services are highly utilized at the VSC, which received nearly 7,500 visits in the last academic year. Although the VSC provides substantial support to many military connected students, it falls short in providing scholarships. The VSC has a very limited scholarship fund, providing a small portion of a single semester of tuition to only a few students each year. We also have a small emergency aid fund, which provides financial aid to student veterans who are facing an unexpected financial crisis that might prevent them from staying enrolled or succeeding in class. A contribution to either fund will help the VSC continue to help our military connected family succeed at the U.