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UNT named one of the best schools for veterans

UNT named one of the best schools for veterans

Victoria Nguyen

UNT named one of the best schools for veterans
October 15
16:10 2017

UNT was named on Military Times’ Best for Vets Colleges for 2017, ranking No. 50 out of 82. The school has also received the Gold Award from Military Friendly and is one of the top universities of 2017 by KMI Media Group’s Military Advanced Education & Transition program.

UNT has received these recognitions because of the services available to student veterans.

The Million Records Project by the Student Veterans of America said the graduation rate of student veterans nationwide is 51.7 percent. UNT is one of the universities that does not track student veteran graduation records.

The semester average population of veterans at UNT is about 2,500, director of Student Veteran Services James Davenport said. About 700 of those students are dependent on student veteran benefits such as the Post-9/11 GI Bill.

As the director, a veteran and UNT alumnus, Davenport said UNT is a very military-friendly school compared to other universities. Especially after knowing what Vietnam-era veterans experienced when they came back.

“Veterans weren’t always treated so well, and right now we really have a good thing going,” Davenport said. “A lot of us bled for this education.”

UNT offers services through Student Veterans Services (SVS), the Student Veterans Association (SVA), SALUTE Veterans National Honor Society and the local Omega Delta Sigma chapter. SVS also schedules weekly counseling (group and single) with the Counseling and Testing Services and advising from the Student Money Management Center and Career Center.

SVS’ purpose is to help incoming student veterans transition well. This begins with orientation. They create a community for student veterans and remove barriers to ensure academic success. This is especially important because student veterans experience college differently than traditional students, according to SVS. They also help student veterans transition back into civilian life after their service.

Davenport is directly involved in student veteran affairs starting with his open door policy. If he is in his office, he is available to speak with whoever needs him.

“My goal is when you enroll, you graduate with a degree and job,” Davenport said.

One of the steps SVS takes is figuring out the best way to keep students enrolled. This could involve helping them get a part-time job, counseling or tutoring. Davenport urges student veterans to use the services provided to them when they arrive to ensure their success. He believes many student veterans would drop out if not for these services.

“I know if I left college, I wouldn’t have come back,” Davenport said.

The Student Veterans Association focuses on events for student veterans and their families to build a community. They hold a medal and cord ceremony for graduation, tailgates and an Army football game. The association does not require a lot of commitment from members.

Social science senior Alan Johnson, the SVA’s sergeant-at-arms and a peer mentor at SVS, said student veterans can come and go knowing they have an organization they can be a part of.

“You can still be a part of something and get some of that college life,” Johnson said.

Social work senior Andrew Champion said discussion in class about what goes on overseas can be frustrating and stressful for a veteran.

“It takes a lot to bite your tongue,” Champion said. “The camaraderie of SVA really helps you out and relieves the stress. They know what you’re going through.”

SVS at UNT also takes part in a Veteran’s Day ceremony with other Denton and Texas Woman’s University student veterans. Usually held at 11 a.m. on Nov. 11, scheduling conflicts with the Mean Green Homecoming football game pushed the ceremony forward to Nov. 10 this year.

While there is always room for improvement, Davenport said UNT has done a lot for student veterans already. They have everything they need at the moment. Sage Hall’s second floor is being completely remodeled for SVS to be “bigger and better.”

“I honestly believe that this university does the veterans a great deal of justice,” Davenport said. “If I had something to do with that, I’m very proud.”

Featured Image: The Student Veterans Association focuses on events for student veterans and their families to build a community. Victoria Nguyen

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Zaira Perez

Zaira Perez

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