Featured Image: A student places a ribbon on the Military Honor Tree at the Batten Student Center Plaza. VWU Communications | Courtesy
Given its military ties, it would only make sense for Virginia Wesleyan to provide abundant resources for its affiliated community members.
Not only is the world’s largest Naval Base fifteen minutes away from campus, but Virginia is the state with the second-highest concentration of military citizens in the U.S., making up over 10% of our population.
For the military population, funds that come from the Post-9/11 GI Bill and the VA Yellow Ribbon Program usually result in the cost of schooling being zero.
Increasing accessibility to higher education for those in the military adds to the skills gained during service to help them curate an ideal career and lifestyle.
VWU provides options to make education affordable and accessible, whether they have retired or are currently serving.
In last year’s annual Veterans Day ceremony, retired Gunnery Sergeant Cory Franklin shared his experience receiving an education at the university. Franklin said, “I believe that the arts at Virginia Wesleyan helped me to decompress; they supported my transition from military life.”
Along with the annual Veterans Day ceremony, held on Nov. 10 this year, VWU recognizes troops through the Military Honor Tree on display at the Batten Student Center plaza desk. The tree has a basket of ribbons of assorted colors next to it. Tying the ribbon to the tree represents respect toward someone in the military or in a military family.
The white ribbon pays respect to someone who lost their life in service, the blue honors a person who is currently serving, the yellow represents general support of veterans, the black is in memory of someone who was a POW or MIA, the red is for students who are serving or have served and the purple honors Purple Heart recipients.
In terms of the university’s support, students shed light on what they found beneficial and what the school could improve on. Abi Carlson spoke on how the institution has supported her.
“VWU did a great job helping with the financial aspect… communication between the university and my family to be able to use the benefits from the military was so easy, and definitely made the transition to college less stressful,” Carlson said.
Beyond financial support, Carlson said, “I do think it would be so fun if VWU continued to build on that, and offer more services. It really makes a difference to have that kind of support available.”
First-year Milo Schuehle echoed this standpoint. “VWU allows their students to use their benefits, despite it being a private school,” Schuehle said. “Other private schools would hesitate to let me use those benefits, because the consensus is that if you go to a private school, you can afford to be there.”
Schuehle had a similar suggestion as Carlson. “It’s nice they appreciate our veterans. It would be better if they reached out directly to our friends and family who served,” Schuehle said.
Senior Caleb Tascione said, “It’s a good chunk of money off my tuition, they make it more affordable for military families.”
The common denominator in the student’s answers is that the university’s support is positive for financial aspects, but the moral support aspect could improve.
By Cecilia Candelaria