Valencia College and the 27 other colleges in the Florida College System (FCS) have signed a national initiative to promote veteran-friendly policies at colleges and universities. The eight strategies in “Keys to Facilitating Veterans’ Success on Campus” encourages colleges to implement policies that help veterans, active-duty service members and their families achieve educational and training goals.
“Our system is proud to provide education, job-training and re-training to veterans, active-duty service members and their families,” said FCS Chancellor Randy Hanna. “I commend all 28 colleges for supporting the keys to success, and look forward to strengthening our efforts to create veteran-friendly environments.”
The 28 FCS institutions joined more than 250 colleges and universities from across the nation to support eight keys to success endorsed by the U.S. Departments of Education, Veterans Affairs and Defense:
- Create a culture of trust and connectedness across the campus community to promote well-being and success for veterans.
- Ensure consistent and sustained support from campus leadership.
- Implement an early-alert system to ensure all veterans receive academic, career and financial advice before challenges become overwhelming.
- Coordinate and centralize campus efforts for all veterans, together with the creation of a designated space (even if limited in size).
- Collaborate with local communities and organizations, including government agencies, to align and coordinate various services for veterans.
- Utilize a uniform set of data tools to collect and track information on veterans, including demographics, retention and degree completion.
- Provide comprehensive professional development for faculty and staff on issues and challenges unique to veterans.
- Develop systems that ensure sustainability of effective practices for veterans.
As of April 2012, the Florida College System has 20,745 veterans enrolled in classes, up from 14,171 in fall 2009. The U.S. Department of Education anticipates that number will continue to grow over the next several years.
“Our colleges have a strong history of responding to the needs of the state and local communities,” Hanna said. “We are proud to support the eight principles for creating veteran-friendly campuses that promote student success.”
Valencia College was recently named to the 2013 Military Friendly Schools list, which honors the top 15 percent of colleges, universities and trade schools for support of veterans.
More than 1,800 veterans are currently enrolled at Valencia, making Valencia the second largest school for veteran students among Florida’s 28 state colleges. Florida State College at Jacksonville, home of the Mayport Naval Station, has the largest veteran enrollment.
Valencia provides veterans services on all its campuses, including student support, workshops and activities. The school has a student veterans club, a veterans-only speech class and several programs of faculty development for dealing with the challenges of veterans in higher education, according to the release.
The Military Friendly Schools list was compiled through extensive research and a data-driven survey of more than 12,000 Veterans Affairs-approved schools across the nation.