OSWEGO — SUNY Oswego has been designated a military-friendly college in Military Advanced Education’s 2013 guide.
The publication, which helps inform education service officers, transition officers and the service members they counsel, named SUNY Oswego to its annual list in the “2013 Guide to Military-Friendly Colleges & Universities,” noting that schools on the list “go out of their way to implement military-friendly policies in support of our men and women in uniform.”
SUNY Oswego joined Syracuse University, Canisius College, Rochester Institute of Technology and SUNY colleges at Canton and Potsdam, among other New York institutions, on the national list.
“I think the designation shows the extent the campus goes to to provide a welcoming environment (for current service members and those transitioning to civilian life) and to give them the specific support they need,” said Benjamin Parker, academic planning coordinator for SUNY Oswego’s Division of Extended Learning.
“There are specific challenges for veterans,” Parker said. “Oswego has put in the effort to be knowledgeable about those challenges and to put in the support structures to minimize those challenges.”
Among the attributes considered in evaluating this year’s colleges and universities for inclusion in the Military Advanced Education guide are the flexibility of online learning options, extent of transfer credits accepted by degree level, on-campus active duty and veteran assistance, faculty trained in veteran reintegration issues, presence on military installations, and full-time counselors trained in veteran-specific mental health concerns.
Parker said Oswego’s services to veterans include counselors who have made it a priority to obtain professional development and training around veterans issues, weekly in-person presence of a college representative at Fort Drum, acceptance at full value of credits earned for military schooling and training, increased opportunities for faculty and staff to learn the challenges facing returning service members, establishing relationships with community institutions that routinely assist veterans and promoting flexibility in academic options, such as the college’s all-online Master of Business Administration degree.
“I advise all the evening degree and online students,” Parker said. “If a veteran student needs that flexibility, they’re already talking to the person who can help them get into the (class) sections.”
The college has a cross-campus, interoffice committee working to further improve veterans’ services, he said. For example, it has named a trained single point of contact for veterans in Admissions, Financial Aid, Student Accounts and other offices that deal frequently with service members. Additionally, Parker makes himself available at the outset to military members and veterans transitioning to college life.
“We’ve streamlined the whole process to get them the information they need,” Parker said. “They come here focused. They know why they’re here. They know what they want. We pave the way.”