Rutgers ranks 2nd in nation for veteran accommodation
After serving overseas, many veterans are choosing to pursue their college education at Rutgers.
Rutgers is the second-best four-year college in America for military veterans, according to a report by the Military Times.
The Office of Veteran Military Programs and Services (OVMPS) is Rutgers organization responsible for assisting veterans and other military affiliated students, according to their website.
Military affiliated students include individuals who have either served in the U.S. Armed Forces in some component, or who are dependent on someone that has served, said Ann Treadaway, OVMPS director and U.S. Army Veteran.
“There are currently about 1,700 military affiliated students attending Rutgers,” Treadaway said. “And our office offers support to all of these people.”
The primary goal of the OVMPS is to ensure positive integration of veterans into the university atmosphere, Treadaway said.
Work towards this objective begins when veterans first arrive on campus, she said.
“We want to make the transition from the military to college as smooth as possible,” she said.
The OVMPS offers several programs to support veterans, including academic advising, financial aid, disability services and tutoring, according to the OVMPS website.
These services are conducive to a positive environment for veterans and they contribute to Rutgers' high national rankings, according to the Military Times.
Ivette Amaya, a School of Environmental and Biological Sciences junior served in the U.S. Marines Corps from 2010 to 2014. She said her first encounter with the OVMPS took place before she had even enrolled.
“I was nervous about the whole transition process, and I wasn’t sure exactly what I had to do in order to apply,” Amaya said. “When I got in touch with the OVMPS, they walked me through the entire process and really put me at ease.”
Amaya said she admires the organization’s consistency.
“I’ve been a student here for two years and I still get help from them,” she said. “They always have answers and no matter what problem I come to them with, they’re always eager to help.”
The OVMPS also helps veterans with post-collegiate issues, like finding employment, said Bryan Adams, the OVMPS Assistant Director and a U.S. Army Veteran.
One of the agency’s primary goals is to help veterans track down suitable employers, he said.
“We want to connect veterans with companies attracted to the unique skill set these men and women bring to the table,” Adams said. “Our goal is to help find the best fit.”
The OVMPS has successfully organized career mentorship events for the past two semesters, Adams said.
“Employees from various corporations came and offered veterans career-related guidance,” he said. “They had their resumes critiqued, received interview tips and were told how to properly research potential employers.”
Adams said the OVMPS held its first ever Hiring Fair on Nov. 14. The organization brought in 17 different employers and 50 veterans attended. The OVMPS expects to host similar events in the future, he said.
The culture on campus plays a significant role in a veteran’s collegiate experience as well, according to Military Times.
Stuart Loy, Assistant Professor of Military Science and Education and U.S. Army veteran, said Rutgers’ culture is uniquely positive for military veterans.
“If New Jersey is a melting pot,” Loy said, “then Rutgers is like a spoon that helps blend all of these cultures and perspectives together.”
He said the diversity on campus plays a special part in the experiences veterans have.
Coming to a university like Rutgers offers individuals who were exposed to a negative culture during their service, an opportunity to interact with the same culture in a non-hostile or accommodating way, he said.
Loy said he was very pleased with the current status of aid offered to veterans and other military affiliated students.
“I can say without a shadow of a doubt that the University has drastically improved the services it provides military affiliated students since I was enrolled,” Loy said. “The OVMPS office, which was funded and built with the University’s help in 2010 is a physical representation of this improvement.”
He said Rutgers deserves its superlative ranking.
“This school never lets military affiliated students fall by the wayside, and it never forgets the sacrifices these people make for their country and their fellow citizens,” he said. “In my opinion, Rutgers is as good as number one.”
Nicholas Simon is a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore. He is a staff writer for The Daily Targum.