LANSING, Mich. – Michigan veterans and their dependents can now identify the institutions of higher learning that best support their academic needs, thanks to the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency’s (MVAA) newly created Veteran-Friendly School program.

The Veteran-Friendly School program recognizes institutions of higher learning for their veteran-centric services. Colleges, universities and training schools throughout Michigan can earn bronze-, silver- or gold-level status, and with each level comes an increased commitment to supporting student veterans and their dependents on campus.

The 2015 application period for the veteran-friendly designation is May 11-July 13, and applications are available at

“This is an exciting announcement, because it allows military service members and their families to quickly recognize Michigan schools committed to easing their transition into higher education,” MVAA Director Jeff Barnes said. “Thousands of veterans are already utilizing their Post-9/11 G.I. Bill and other educational benefits in our state, and we want to attract even more of these motivated men and women. Michigan is home to premier training schools, colleges and universities, and we want veterans to know they will be supported at each of them.”

The veteran-friendly designation is available to any institution of higher learning eligible to receive veteran education benefits, regardless of size, location or program delivery.

Criteria for certification include:

· On-campus veterans coordinator or staffed veterans center.

· Active student veterans club or association.

· Processes to identify current student veterans on campus.

· Systems to evaluate and award credit based on prior military training and experience.

· A well-maintained veteran-specific website.

· Evaluation of student veteran academic retention, completion and graduation rates.

· Knowledge of student veteran job placement rates post-graduation.

In addition to the Veteran-Friendly School program, MVAA also offers the certified Veteran-Friendly Employer program to recognize organizations for their commitment to recruiting, training and retaining top veteran talent. Since its creation in 2014, 19 organizations have earned the designation.

“As more and more veterans transition out of the military and into civilian life in the coming years, they will be looking at which states provide them with the best educational and occupational opportunities,” Barnes said. “Through the Veteran-Friendly School and Employer programs, we are making it clear that Michigan is the place veterans will want to call home.”

A full list of academic institutions certified by MVAA as veteran-friendly schools will be released in August.

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