G.I. Jobs magazine names RIC a Military Friendly School

In post-9/11 GI Bill era, the magazine offers veterans guidance on schools that are doing the most to welcome them as students.

A close-up of the plaque citing RIC as a Military Friendly School.
Rhode Island College has been named a Military Friendly School for 2010 by G.I. Jobs magazine, and is deemed one of the schools in the nation to embrace America’s veterans as students.

The magazine announced its list of best schools for veterans on August 17.

The magazine ranks the top 15 percent of colleges, universities and trade schools who recruit students with military experience.

The recent passage of the Post-9/11 GI Bill has given veterans virtually unlimited financial means to pursue educational opportunities, according to Rich McCormack, publisher of G.I. Jobs magazine.

“Veterans need a trusted friend to help them decide where to get educated. The Military Friendly Schools list is that trusted friend,” McCormack said.

Schools on the Military Friendly list also offer additional benefits to student veterans such as veterans programs, credit for service, spousal programs and other pertinent information.

RIC has 90 academic programs approved for veterans, and employs a VA certifying official who verifies enrollment for initial and continuing VA educational benefits. A Veterans Resource Center located in Building 5 on the east campus, serves as a clearinghouse of information for all student veterans and their families.

“Leaving the structure and rules of the service to navigate the college campus and its policies can be a daunting task. RIC is committed to making that process as straightforward as possible. It’s the least we can do for service members and their families who have given so much for their country,” said Monica Darcy, coordinator of veterans programs at RIC.

The college also has a VA Work Group that meets several times each semester to discuss ways to keep RIC a veteran friendly place. Several faculty and community awareness events are planned to highlight veterans’ strengths and challenges as they transition from military service to academia.

“The Work Group has members of many departments across campus participating in discussion of veterans' issues, requirements, and policies to be better prepared to assist veterans,” Darcy said.

Now in its second year at RIC is a Student Veterans Organization, a chapter of the Student Veterans of America. The organization provides outreach and a peer support network for student veterans and their families, and educates the college community about experiences of military veterans.

This fall, the college will conduct focus groups to document the civilian academic experiences of student veterans.

Darcy added that in Fall 2008, RIC received a $1,200 grant called, “Student Veterans Coming to Campus: A Strengths Based Focus,” funded by American College Personnel Association to track student veteran experiences.

“Knowing what student veterans and their families are going through on our campus can help us improve services. When we focus on the strengths that our student veterans bring to our college community, we are showing how much we truly value them,” Darcy said.