Boise State has been named a “Military Friendly School” for the fourth consecutive time by Victory Media, a media outlet providing content to the military community, a fact largely unknown on campus.
This achievement signifies the university is in the top 15 percent of schools nationwide for delivering the best experience for military students. According to Victory Media, the list is compiled through extensive research and a data-driven survey of more than 12,000 schools in the United States.
“The most positive thing I can say is that it’s so nice, you don’t even have to think about it. You take everything for granted. You’re not going to have any problems. It’s super easy to use the GI Bill or voc rehab,” Joshua Barnes, a veteran now in his senior year of health sciences said. “You just go in not expecting to have any issues and there aren’t ever any issues. And if there are (issues), R.K. is awesome.”
Barnes also addressed the difference he has experienced between the level of attention he receives at Boise State, compared to his experience at a university in North Dakota. He spoke highly of the staff at the Veterans’ Center, how knowledgeable they are and how easy they make it to use the benefits.
This is especially pertinent because “everybody’s got their own situation which makes it difficult sometimes, I think, to figure out where you are in that whole sort of stream,” Barnes said.
Inside the walls of the Veterans’ Center, there are three different organizations available and ready to assist students.
They include Veterans’ Services, which provides access to educational benefits to veterans, and two new organizations, VetSuccess on Campus and the Wyakin Warrior
VetSuccess on Campus is a new program brought to Boise State, one of only 24 universities to have this program across the country, through the collaboration with the U.S. Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA).
“We support veterans going to school,” Sean Burlile, Ph.D., VetSuccess on Campus Counselor said. The VA pays for tuition, provides a living allowance, medical care, mental health services and counseling, “anything to help the veteran be successful,” Burlile said.
Having the resources right on campus and in the same space as other veteran services makes finding the right assistance that much more convenient for students when they do turn to the Veterans’ Center for support.
Boise State has also partnered with the Wyakin Warrior Foundation, a nonprofit organization supported by private donations, now only present on the campuses of CWI and Boise State.
“We are an organization that provides mentorship and support for severely wounded, injured and/or ill veterans. The biggest piece of our organization is the mentorship, and we call it 360 degree support for the warriors that are in the program. Each one of them is assigned a squad. They have three students and one local mentor assigned to each individual warrior. The intent for those squads and the local mentor is to establish a support structure that the warriors feel comfortable with and can share things with and can get advice from,” said Tom Byrns, Director of Scholarship and Education.
The Foundation also provides professional development seminars and focuses on how to help veterans transition and be productive in their careers.
According to Byrns, 14 students have applied to the program for next spring, and as there are currently only 11 students participating, the size of the program will soon more than double.
Barnes is one of the first members of the Wyakin Warrior Foundation and said it is “another facet” of why the assistance available to veterans here on campus is “awesome.”
“Everybody is prior military, and helping you use the skills that you learned in this one sort of specific aspect and sort of translating those into business,” Barnes said in reference to the Foundation.
When asked whether he agrees with Boise State being named one of the top military friendly school, Barnes said, “Totally founded. For sure.”
The well-established working relationship within the Veterans’ Center is an invaluable resource to student veterans here and as one of every 12 students is eligible for veteran benefits, it is critical that this support structure exist and function as well as it does.