Military + Veterans
Eastern aims to make key benefits and services that make higher education readily available to military members and veterans.
Military Benefits (active duty, veterans, family members)
As approved by Congress, eligibility for benefits, and specifically for higher education benefits, depends on several factors, including:
- Length of service
- Place and time of service
- Discharge class
5 Star Challenge
The 5 Star Challenge is a call to action for West Virginia’s public two-year and four-year institutions and their coordinating agencies to adopt a set of exemplary standards for supporting student veterans. The challenge pays homage to the military tradition of issuing “challenge coins” to military service members who exemplify the values and standards of their military units. Participating institutions will be presented with a “5 Star Challenge Coin” that will be provided by the West Virginia Office of Veterans Education and Training (OVET).
The President’s Office at each institution will demonstrate its commitment to student veterans/dependents by:
- Signing a commitment to and implementing the Principles of Excellence program, as outlined by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs;
- Signing a commitment to and implementing the 8 Keys to Success program, as outlined by the U.S. Department of Education and the Department of Veterans Affairs; and
- Reemphasizing compliance with West Virginia’s Veteran-Friendly Campus Act enacted by the West Virginia Legislature.
Institutions will foster increased academic support by:
- Establishing priority registration for students who are using VA education benefits;
- Ensuring advising staff and student veterans/dependents are aware of specific concerns associated with use of VA education benefits; and
- Collecting and reporting appropriate data to help identify potential obstacles impeding timely graduation.
Institutions will increase collaboration with the community by:
- Identifying and networking with area stakeholders;
- Hosting events on campus to increase awareness of veterans resources and opportunities; and
- Identifying and promoting service opportunities and recreational/social activities that will foster reintegration into the community.
Institutions will foster increased access and affordability by:
- Implementing and actively promoting resident tuition provisions of the Federal Choice Act enacted by Congress;
- Actively promoting and screening for tuition waiver availability for eligible dependents of fallen service members; and
- Ensuring timely execution of VA Yellow Ribbon agreements and applicable Department of Defense Memoranda of Understanding.
Institutions will foster increased cultural and social support by:
- Ensuring key supportive staff are selected and trained to serve as a resource for veterans and that these staff members are clearly identifiable on campus;
- Providing training to faculty, administrators, and staff to assist them in understanding and meeting the unique needs of student veterans;
- Ensuring that a forum is available for sharing the profound experiences many student veterans/dependents possess in order to promote a culture of awareness, understanding, and support; and
- Connecting student veterans/dependents with one another, staff, and alumni that share a similar background.
8 Keys to Success
Eastern has committed to the 8 Keys to Success developed by the Administration, the Departments of Education, and Veterans Affairs to ensure a quality educational experience for our military families:
- Create a culture of trust and connectedness across the campus community to promote well-being and success for veterans
- Ensure consistent and sustained support from campus leadership
- Implement an early alert system to ensure all veterans receive academic, career, and financial advice before challenges become overwhelming
- Coordinate and centralize campus efforts for all veterans, together with the creation of a designated space (even if limited in size)
- Collaborate with local communities and organizations, including government agencies, to align and coordinate various services for veterans
- Utilize a uniform set of data tools to collect and track information on veterans, including demographics, retention, and degree completion
- Provide comprehensive professional development for faculty and staff on issues and challenges unique to veterans
- Develop systems that ensure the sustainability of effective practices for veterans
Below, please find several useful links to information about military benefits:
GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). More information about education benefits offered by VA is available at the official U.S. government website at www.benefits.va.gov/gibill.
If you have any questions about your own situation, please do not hesitate to contact Eastern’s Veterans Certifying Official, Monica Wilson, Interim Vice President of Academic and Student Services, for more information and assistance.