Murray State has again been named in Victory Media’s 2014 list of top military friendly schools for providing excellent service to military veterans looking to make the transition to student life.
Victory Media is a veteran-owned business that provides top-notch media coverage on military and veteran related issues and is frequently used as a source of reference by national news outlets such as ABC, NBC, and CNN. The list includes the top 20 percent of colleges in the United States that ensure that America’s military service members and veterans, who are seeking higher education, have the resources needed to succeed inside and outside of the classroom. The list results are accumulate from data that includes surveys from over 10,000 schools.
Alison Marshall, associate director of Veterans Affairs and Adult Student Liaison, said Murray State has a cohesive, supportive staff in Veterans Affairs who will assist the Veterans with their transition from military to civilian life.
“This type of support ranges from assistance with admission to the University and GI Bill educational benefit counseling, to connecting them with support services like the Office of Disability Services, Counseling Services, or academic advising and tutoring,” Marshall said.
In order to make Victory Media’s list of Military Friendly Schools, a school must not only show awareness of their student veterans, but a commitment to their students to deliver the best possible educational experience that sees them through to graduation.
“We have a dedicated orientation program specific to the needs of our Veteran population, as well as, a Veterans Educational Transition Session that meets monthly in Waterfield Library,” Marshall said. “This serves as a social support system for all veterans in order to promote personal and academic wellbeing.”
Jeremy DuCharme, a sophomore at Murray State who toured Afghanistan 2010-2011, said completing the steps to make college education a reality proved to be more difficult than he initially expected and was very complimentary of the assistance provided by the Veterans Affairs office.
“When I got to MSU I didn’t know the steps personally to start my GI Bill with the Yellow Ribbon Program, but the veterans Affairs office was very helpful in informing me of the Yellow Ribbon Program and helping me complete my application,” DuCharme said.
Murray State student and Iraq war veteran Matt Meyer said the Veterans Affairs office is extremely helpful with keeping students informed as well as supporting veterans who find the transition from military to civilian life difficult.
“The transition from military to civilian life is tough at first,” Meyer said.
“Luckily the Veterans Affairs office is excellent,” Meyer said. “They make sure you have all the paperwork you have to have completed and are constantly sending emails. They help out a lot and that made my transition from military into student life easier.”
Aside from the Veterans Affairs office, Murray State also has an active Veterans Student Organization that meets twice a month to ensure veterans stay in the information loop and are active on campus. The Veterans Student Organization is a group of veterans attending Murray State. The raise money for various activities that they may be involved in as well as raising money for donations to the Wound Warrior Project, an organization that serves veterans and service members who suffered a physical or mental injury during their military service.
“I can tell the VSO is doing a great job because I meet more and more veterans who are active on campus all the time,” Meyer said.
Story by Alex McLaughlin, Contributing Writer