University of St. Thomas

University of St. Thomas Veterans Resource Center

Challenge

Veteran students come to college with unique needs. Many have mental and emotional issues such as PTSD, transition stress and sleep disorders. Because the average age of incoming veteran students at St. Thomas is about 23, many are supporting families and have additional financial stresses. They need help with benefits, as well as steady on-campus support to succeed in college.

Actions

St. Thomas opened its Veterans Resource Center (VRC) in 2017 with full-time staff to meet the needs of veteran students. Our support staff works to be trusted advisors that veterans can turn to for academic, social and emotional support. The center’s director uses a transition model to identify health, social, academic, career and financial needs in order to address issues, and a psychologist experienced in working with veterans dedicates 50 percent of her time to counseling veteran students. In addition, our veteran alumni network helps with the transition to careers, and an emergency fund offers interest-free loans.

Outcomes

Today we have 200 veteran students - 20 more than last year. St. Thomas has been designated as a Military Friendly campus (for the second straight year), according to a comprehensive review of university services for military and veteran students.

Our goal is to make St. Thomas the most veteran-friendly campus in the Upper Midwest. St. Thomas is also showing leadership by hosting a PTSD awareness conference with a wide range of information around the complex topic. St. Thomas exceeded in all areas of Military Friendly’s survey, which includes academy policies and compliance; admissions and orientation; culture and commitment; financial aid and assistance; graduation and career; and military student support and retention.

Our goal is to be the most military-friendly university in the Upper Midwest. Veteran students at St. Thomas have unique needs and we know that we can help them succeed by recognizing and responding with resources. Our campus benefits from their experience and contributions.

Dr. Julie H. Sullivan, President, University of St. Thomas

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