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WCSH TV highlights USM efforts to help student veterans

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The University of Southern Maine’s work to help student veterans — and better learn their needs — was highlighted recently by reporter Don Carrigan at WCSH TV.

Carrigan talked with USM student veterans and administrators.

"For a lot of veterans, there’s hiccups along the way, whether that’s housing, or just being able to complete degrees because there aren’t enough benefits," USM student veteran Mary Swanson said.

Some problems arise because the GI bill only provides education and housing benefits for 36 months, USM Dean of Students Rodney Mondor said. And there are other adjustments.

"They’re hard-working, come from very disciplined backgrounds, so that’s a plus for them," Mondor said. "They get the job done, know how to take orders and can figure things out. But when you get into civilian life it’s not always so black and white. So there’s that big area where they have a choice and, for some vets, having the ability to choose from A or B is difficult. They say, ‘tell me which choice and I’ll do it.’"

USM has a variety of programs for student veterans and also runs “Green Zone” training for faculty and staff to better understand the needs of student veterans.

During the 2017-2018 academic year, the University of Southern Maine had 327 veterans among its students, the most of any Maine university.