West Virginia University is trying to make the adjustment from military life to campus life a little easier for student veterans.
In August, WVU will begin offering veterans-only classes. A University orientation class, called Orientation 293, will replace the traditional University 101 class that all incoming students are required to take; and an English 101 class will be offered. University officials are currently in the process of adding other veterans-only courses.
“The classes are designed to help those coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan transition back into the campus community,”said Terry Miller, WVU veterans advocate.”When they return, many of them have hypersensitivity to sights and sounds that they cant turn off when back in the states. In a large classroom with a lot of people, it can be hard to pay attention. With these separate classes, we are limiting the external influences.”
A student organization called Veterans of WVU was started on campus to help student veterans find friends they can identify with. Since the organizations inception in 2005, the students have sponsored blood drives and sent care packages to Marines serving in Iraq, among other things. Currently, Miller is in the process of locating a place on campus to house a student veterans lounge.
WVU will also begin offering a veterans mentor program in August to help students returning from combat with their studies. The University will also make training available for faculty and staff on the needs of student veterans, and a staff member in each department will be appointed as a support person for student veterans.
“There is a readjustment period for students who return from active duty. They may have been gone for eight months or a year and are in the same class with different students, so they have to try to remember what they were learning about. It can create a lot of challenges,”Miller said.”We are trying to weather the storm and help them out as much as we can.”
Recently, WVU s Faculty Senate voted to make Veterans Day a”Day of Concern,”which allows military students to miss classes in order to participate in Veterans Day events and ceremonies.
Tuition and payment plans
Veteran-specific tuition waivers and payment plans are offered by WVU to help ease the financial burden on military students.
Veterans coming off of full-time active duty, or those who do not participate in the Montgomery GI Bill, do not get tuition paid by the federal Veterans Administration or their branch of service, so WVU has implemented a partial tuition waiver for those students. To be eligible for a veterans tuition waivers, students must be attending the University on a full-time basis. In-state students receive $1,000 per year and out-of-state students receive $3,000 per year.
WVU s veterans tuition pay plan allows students who receive the MGIB to delay payment of tuition and fees until they receive the first full month of benefits.
For military students who may get called into active duty mid-semester, the University has instituted a military leave policy. The policy allows students who are called before the end of the first three-fourths of the semester to receive a full refund. Those, who are called after that and have a passing grade, may receive full credit for the course.
For more information on these and other veterans services offered by WVU , visit http://wvuveterans.wvu.edu/ or call Miller at 304-293-8262.