The University of Southern Maine has been recognized as a Military Friendly public university for its work to help student veterans succeed.
A veterans-specific orientation, the creation of an admissions liaison for veterans, specialized training for faculty and staff, and testimonials by student veterans all contributed to USM’s designation.
Pennsylvania-based publication, “Military Friendly,” creates the designation annually for schools based on a detailed nationwide survey. Factors included support for student veterans on campus, graduation and employment outcomes and military spouse policies, according to the organization.
“For everything we’ve built, it matters,” said Lorraine Spaulding, USM’s coordinator of veterans services. She highlighted the work for incoming veterans, particularly the dedicated admissions personnel, as being particularly important to the organization. “We have made a commitment as an institution to break down barriers and to make the student experience as seamless and streamlined as possible for veterans.”
Though the designation is not awarded by the US Military, schools that have the designation are highlighted in GI BIll databases used by veterans as they gather school information.
“The Military Friendly ratings program was started in 2003 as an advocacy vehicle to encourage civilian organizations to invest in programs to recruit, retain and advance veterans as employees, entrepreneurs and students,” According to the organization’s website. “By providing a benchmark to aim for, by posting a “score,” this program has encouraged civilian organizations who previously didn’t care about recruiting veterans to do so. We believe that this is the very cornerstone of creating sustainable civilian opportunities for veterans. Because without demand for their talent, veterans are left with nothing more than periodic scraps of interest out of gratitude for their service; out of corporate social responsibility; not based in them providing real value to the organizations they join.”
For a full listing of the recognized schools, go to militaryfriendly.com.