USF left off list of military-friendly schools

USF, which ranked eighth in the nation for most veteran-friendly schools earlier this year, didn’t make the list of hundreds of universities in G.I. Jobs Magazine’s ranking of the top 15 percent of military friendly schools that it had made in 2010 and 2011.

However, Director of Veterans Services Larry Braue said USF never received the request to submit information for the ranking. The email that the magazine thought they sent him was sent to a wrong address, he said.

“The email is floating somewhere out there in cyberspace,” he said.

The magazine, which determines the friendliness of a school based on its financial commitment to helping veterans pay for school, the programs offered to veterans and the acceptance of military credits, said USF can still submit information, though the list was published in August.

Braue said the Office of Veterans Services hopes to send in the information by the end of the week.

“We’ll see what happens from there,” he said.

USF was ranked as the eighth most veteran-friendly university in the nation by the Military Times Magazine, which Braue said is the more valued ranking publication. An updated rank from them is due next month.

The office has taken several steps to commit itself to improving services on campus, Braue said. It has begun bringing in a mental health professional trained in veteran issues to provide free services at USF, and a veterans lounge is being planned.

The 2009 VetSuccess program has piloted at USF in an attempt to connect student veterans with Veteran Affairs services and other needs. In June, USF joined the Yellow Ribbon program, which pays the cost of in-state tuition while students pay the difference between the in-state and out-of-state tuition amounts.

Corey Wilson, a senior majoring in environmental sciences and the former vice president of USF’s Student Veterans Association, said USF is one of the most veteran friendly schools he’s heard of.

“I have veteran friends at other schools who don’t have the resources we have at our disposal,” he said. “The services we have are really good.”

However, Wilson said he would like to see the University work on better integrating returning veterans.

“Right now, it’s kind of like the same as returning from community college,” he said. “They need to teach us how to use Blackboard, how emails are important … and things some older veterans who have been at war may not necessarily be familiar with.”

Wilson said student veterans have long needed a safe haven on campus and are awaiting the construction of the lounge. The Library and Marshall Student Center, he said, are often stressful places for returning veterans.

“When you have veterans returning with post-traumatic stress disorder and other war-related traumas, it’s really hard to find a quiet place to sit or study,” Wilson said.

Braue said the omission from the list has no bearing on the Veteran Services at USF.

“It has zero impact on us,” he said. “Most of the veterans here probably didn’t even notice it.”