This fall, PSU was recognized by the 2010 Guide to Military Friendly Schools. Pitt State was selected for the honor for multiple reasons, including having an active veterans association, working with members of the military to accept credits from other institutions, and financial and non-financial recruitment and retention techniques.
"We find that military personnel relocate a lot, and if they've attended multiple schools it can be difficult if their credits won't transfer," explained Sherry Roberts, the veterans certifying official for PSU. "We do our best to accept credits so they can complete their degree in a timely manner. We want to recruit veterans and for them to feel this is the best school for them."
In addition, Roberts said the new National Guard Armory, which is connected to PSU's Student Recreation Center, is a benefit when recruiting students. What seems to have made the biggest difference in bringing students to PSU, however, is the new G.I. Bill that became available Aug. 1. Approximately 175 PSU students receive a G.I. Bill of some sort, with 38 receiving the newest version, which covers tuition and fees and offers a stipend of up to $941 a month.
Roberts said many students have commented that without the new bill, they wouldn't be attending college. While the older version of the G.I. Bill may still be better for some, Roberts said the new version is changing the face of the campus military community. For example, the new bill allows for veterans to give the money to their dependants, meaning some benefiting from the funds have never been in the military themselves.
"I've had several students tell me they would not be here if it weren't for the new bill," Roberts said, adding that some students, including those who take all their classes online, those who are enrolled only half-time, and those who receive scholarships or grants, benefit more from older G.I. bills. "We have several students who are collecting the G.I. Bill because of their parents."
Bruce Curry, a PSU senior who is active in the National Guard and leads the new PSU Student Veterans Association, agrees that PSU military friendly status is well-earned.
"The school has been very helpful to veterans. Sometimes it's a difference between what the military wants and what a school will do for you, but PSU has been so accommodating. They don't have the attitude of 'it's our way or nothing.' They are willing to learn and adapt."
Although he benefits from an older G.I. Bill, Curry also works with veterans whose G.I. benefits are helping a new generation.
"I get lots of questions from older veterans who never used their G.I. Bill and they want their kids or spouse to have it," he said. "It's great that it's not being wasted. It's great to have help available to veterans, but if you can do something for veterans and their families, that's even better."
©2009 Pittsburg State University