Student Veterans of America empowers you to achieve your educational goals

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Student Veterans of America empowers you to achieve your educational goals

by: Will Hubbard, Vice Pres. of External Affairs | .
Student Veterans of America | .
published: July 17, 2014

In 2001, our country went to war. Millions of Americans, like you, dedicated years of their life to service in the armed forces, and they did so for a variety of personal reasons. After 12 years of deployments, our country’s veteran population has surged and many of these new veterans now find themselves on college campuses nationwide — a daunting experience, as anyone who has lived through that transition knows.

As the first wave of student veterans began to enroll in higher education, they realized that strong institutional support was simply not available. Few were prepared to support these non-traditional students — aside from the veterans themselves. In 2007, student veterans began to organize on campuses across the country. These groups connected with one another through social media, spreading best practices, sharing success stories, and supporting each other to strengthen the student veteran community. In 2008, student veteran leaders from roughly 20 schools convened on a frosty January weekend in Chicago to formalize this grassroots movement and found Student Veterans of America (SVA).

SVA was officially incorporated to provide programs, resources, and support to the ever-evolving network of local student veteran organizations, known today as SVA chapters. Each SVA chapter is uniquely positioned to provide an essential peer-support system, and also to implement on-campus services that increase student veteran achievement. When linking with a chapter for the first time, many veterans quickly realize that leaving the armed services doesn’t mean leaving camaraderie behind.

SVA’s mission is to provide military veterans with the resources, support, and advocacy needed to succeed in higher education and after graduation. Our vision is that all veterans will achieve their academic goals, gain meaningful employment, and continue to contribute to society in meaningful ways. These ideals are as fundamental to SVA today as they were over 6 years ago at our first conference.

Since our founding with 20 schools, the chapter network has evolved to more than 990 institutions of higher learning in all 50 states and three countries overseas, and we give voice to the one million-plus GI Bill users locally and nationally. We implement a host of high-impact programs like the Leadership Institute Series, which trains chapter leaders how to manage a chapter like a business and implement best-practices. Over the past two years, the Institute Series has trained roughly 400 veterans from more than 210 schools representing 87,900 GI Bill beneficiaries. Other SVA programs such as scholarships, mentorship programs, and our developing alumni network, support student veterans while on campus and provide access to quality employment opportunities. For more information on these opportunities, or to find a chapter, check out the SVA website at www.studentveterans.org.

In addition to the wide range of programmatic support, we are keenly focused on research and accountability. Our Million Records Project, a public-private partnership with the Department of Veterans Affairs and the National Student Clearinghouse, tracks the academic outcomes of one million student veterans. This data collection effort will yield the most comprehensive set of data on student veterans in over 70 years, since the original GI Bill of 1944, to include graduation rates, average times-to-completion, highest degree earned, and majors pursued. These data-driven best-practices will then be implemented across SVA’s network to positively impact thousands of GI Bill beneficiaries.

With an additional one million veterans transitioning back to civilian life over the next several years, America is primed for another great wave of progress. As a part of the military community, you have demonstrated a commitment to excellence, selfless service and continual improvement. When your military skills, both the tangible and intangible, are coupled with postsecondary degrees and certificates, there is no ceiling on your potential for greatness. Student Veterans of America stands poised to empower you to realize that potential – to better yourself, and the nation.

Visit www.studentveterans.org, for more.
 

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