Why Support Student Veterans?

Student Veterans are lifetime learners with limitless potential to add value to our communities. With community support, we believe that all student-veterans can excel in higher education, enhance their valuable skills, and secure meaningful employment that contributes to Maine’s economy.

In a report for the Office of the Secretary of State, researchers from RAND identified 19 nontechnical and valuable skills, training, and abilities that all veterans bring to the workplace:

  • Decision making/Decisiveness

  • Critical Thinking

  • Leaving, Motivating, and Inspiring to Accomplish Organizational Goals

  • Managing and Supervising the Work of Others

  • Project Planning

  • Continuous Learning

  • Training Others

  • Teamwork and Team-Building

  • Interpersonal Skills

  • Oral Communication

  • Written Communication

  • Being Dependable and Reliable

  • Conscientiousness and Attention to Detail

  • Situational Awareness

  • Adaptability

  • Handling Work Stress

  • Persistence

  • Behaving Ethically

  • Operating Safely

The Veterans Administration also recognizes many of the strengths that veterans can bring to the workplace in: “Why Veterans Make Good Employees.”

Closer to home, Maine Hire-a-Vet has connected more than 300 employers with over 700 veteran-hires since its inception in 2015 and has been recognized as a best practice by the United States Department of Labor (USDOL) and the National Association of State Workforce Agencies (NASWA). In an interview with the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, Colonel Dan Friend highlights four key advantages to hiring veterans:

  1. Veterans Are Trainable: From the moment they join, service members are expected to continuously learn and develop. Service members must master the art of adaptability in an environment where improvisation is key and individual roles may shift from day to day.

  2. Veterans Are Leaders: Service members often achieve the kind of big-picture perspective that is key to being an effective leader—and they do so relatively early in their careers. “Junior leaders become cross-functional at a very early age,” says Col. Dan Friend.

  3. Veterans Learn Selflessness: In adapting to the military life, service members learn early on to set aside their personal interests for the greater good of the team. They are trained to think and act with a bias toward improving the organization instead of only themselves. This may be one reason why CEOs with a military background are 70 percent less likely to engage in corporate fraud than CEOs without a military background.

  4. Veterans Know How to Take Constructive Criticism: The rigorous processes of after-action reviews and the military’s merit-based promotion system, have given veterans significant experience in using formal and informal feedback mechanisms to improve on their own shortcomings.

What are the Barriers to Student Veteran Success?

Financial Challenges

Student Veterans face unique financial challenges, including running out of GI Bill benefits, an inconsistent Veterans Affairs payment schedule, and lack of benefits for non-honorably discharged Service Members. Your support allows us to provide Bridge Scholarships to help Service Members who run out of GI Bill benefits but are three classes short of graduating to complete their degrees.

In addition to MSVA’s Bridge Scholarship, here are eight recommendations for Student Veterans searching for additional resources to pay for their education after their time-limited GI Bill benefits run out:

6. Nonprofit Organizations

7. Scholarship Search Engines

8. Federal and Other Student Loans

  1. VA’s Vocational Rehabilitation for certain veterans

  2. National Guard and Reserve Education Benefits

  3. Employer Benefits

  4. State-sponsored Education Benefits

  5. Service Organizations

College Support Models

Challenge America Identified Five Services that Help Veterans Succeed in College.

  1. Veteran Lounges on College Campuses

  2. A Properly Trained Faculty

  3. Peer Mentoring Services

  4. Affordable Housing

  5. Transparent Information for Informed Decision-Making

According to a report by EAB, there is a broad spectrum of institutional support services that colleges may offer to their student veterans.

  1. Many colleges offer a One-person office which is the easiest model to implement but is very limited. This model requires a certifying official position but does not offers a collaborative support system for student-veterans.

  2. In addition to a certifying official, some colleges offer a One-person office and campus working group which may include faculty members, students, and other individuals on campus interested in veterans’ issues.

  3. Campuses offering a Cross-functional liaison network go one step further by creating specific liaisons in campus offices to meet the unique needs of student-veterans.

Colleges most supportive to student-veterans offer a Comprehensive Resource Center. Veteran Services Officers and their staff at these campuses coordinate with existing support programs including financial aid, counseling, campus health, housing, and disability services.