LIU Post has been recognized as one of the top 15 percent of military friendly colleges in the nation for the third time by G.I. jobs. LIU Brooklyn also made the list, which can be found at www.militaryfriendlyschools.com.
G.I. Jobs sends out surveys or questionnaires to see how United States colleges are servicing their veteran students.
“For us to be identified [as being military friendly], it’s a real honor to say the least because other schools are not in the top 15 percent,” said Adam Grohman, Veteran and Military Affairs Coordinator for LIU Post.
Post’s participation in the Yellow Ribbon program is one way that the school stands out by being military friendly. There is a cap on the amount of money the government gives to a veteran student attending a private university. Veterans who have served a minimum of 36 months of active duty service after September 10, 2001 are eligible for the Yellow Ribbon Program at Post. The Yellow Ribbon program works with the veteran’s assistance program to help finance the rest of the tuition for veterans who are eligible for the full percentage of the G.I bill, along with their dependents, that the government doesn’t cover. Many schools have Yellow Ribbon programs with their own rules and regulations.
“We are very open with our yellow ribbon program and we are very supportive of it,” Grohman said. Grohman stated that the faculty and staff play a large role in making the campus military friendly. He said he works with the approximately 103 students (including veterans, veteran dependents and people working in the reserve) who use veteran’s education entitlements at the college and has seen the faculty and staff working well with the veteran students. For example, if a veteran student wanted to take three credits over the summer and nothing was available in their department, the chair and faculty would work with the student to find them a solution.
“I’ve been to three different schools and by far this one was the easiest to assimilate to because Adam [Grohman] is a particular person to go to handle all your needs, versus having six or three different agencies and you have to go and figure it out…that made it 10 times easier to facilitate me coming here,” said Charlie Taylor, veteran graduate student.
Taylor had some “feelings of alienation” when he first came back from Afghanistan. He said that he was older than many other students in his classes and was used to different responsibilities and cultural norms. He refers to the change as a “culture shock” because, according to Taylor, “ [when] the culture is a little bit different than what you’re used to you’re going to have to figure out what people are all about, figure out what makes everyone tick, and adapt to the social norms.”
Taylor feels that transitioning from the military to college is like a career change or a lifestyle change—and sometimes even both. He adjusted to the change by getting involved on campus by joining clubs with other veterans because they understand what one another is going through. The first club he joined was the Vets Club at Suffolk County Community College, where he started after his homecoming from the military.
“It’s an awesome program. I think it is incredibly military friendly,” Taylor said about Post’s veteran assistance program. Taylor said that it may be helpful if there was a veteran guidance counselor because “many times we get a little more comfortable talking to a vet.”
Post has a club called Veteran Students United (VSU), consisting of veterans, members of the military and non-veterans. Grohman said that it “is a vibrant group of students.” The club hosts an activity called Veteran’s Appreciation Week every November, which coincides with Veteran’s Day.
“What it does for me person¬ally because I’m an alumni to Post as well, it really makes me want to say what is it that we can do to be even better…If anything I think it raises the bar and it also means that we have to continue to look for ways that we can remain in that top percentage,” Grohman said.
VSU is a club that is great for all students, not just veterans alone. Many students studying for careers in social work take advantage of the club so they can learn how to speak with and help veteran students. If you are interested in taking part in supporting the transition for veterans to LIU Post, join the VSU club on Wednesdays during Common Hour.