YSU Veteran Affairs Ranked “Best for Vets”

By Alexa Devore 

Youngstown State University was named as “Best for Vets” by the Military Times magazine.

The rankings were based on an annual survey given to multiple universities about the resources they offer veterans and their rates of academic achievement. YSU ranked 114 out of 175 schools.

Rick Williams, coordinator of the Office of Veteran Affairs, said YSU is more accommodating for veterans than other colleges.

“We have an office just for veterans,” Williams said. “We waive their admission fees and we recognize them at graduation with a special honors cord.”

The survey asks the universities to describe the services, accommodations and financial incentives they offer military veterans.

The Veteran Affairs office at YSU was established in 2009 to assist students who are veterans or are currently serving in the military so they can achieve their academic goals.

Another resource provided by YSU is the Veterans Resource Center, which opened in 204. They help military veterans and service members transition to being a student at YSU and also work to improve services available to them.

Williams said the Office of Veteran Affairs also offers special classes within the semester for only veteran students so they do not feel behind coming right out of service.

“We work hard to treat veterans special,” Williams said.

The survey was sent out in July, giving the schools about a month to complete it. Williams said other departments on campus that handle accommodations for veterans were contacted for reports.

To make college more affordable for military service members, Williams said they are considering offering scholarships to those currently serving in the military. He said a scholarship fund for veterans was endowed by the YSU Foundation, but they haven’t reached their monetary goal of $1 million yet.

Veteran tuition discounts aren’t offered at YSU. Williams said other colleges have incentives like this, and they strive to improve and expand on the opportunities offered to YSU’s former and current military service members.

Alexis Cline, a current student who is in the Air Force Reserve, said various activities are held in the Veteran Affairs Center on campus.

“We hold parties for the veterans [and] tailgates before the games in our building,” Cline said. “We have a recreational room with Xbox’s and computer labs with the software for active students to contact sergeants.”

Paul Arthur, a veteran student, said he enjoys his experience at YSU under the program.

“The vet center is very nice,” Arthur said. “They do a great job of making it a good experience.”

YSU was also named a “military friendly school” by the G.I Jobs magazine for the past five years.