July 3, 2018

Purdue named one of America’s best colleges for veterans

jamie-richards Jamie Richards. (Purdue University photo) Download image

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Purdue University has been named one of the best colleges in the country for military veterans by College Consensus. The website looks at rankings in national publications such as the Wall Street Journal and U.S. News & World Report and combines them with verified student reviews.

“I was really happy to see how they come up with their rankings,” said Jamie Richards, director of the Purdue Veterans Success Center. “And then seeing that a lot of our peer institutions in the Big Ten are in there as well was pretty cool.”

The Veterans Success Center located in the Purdue Memorial Union provides resources and support for veteran students and those still serving in the military, as well as their dependents as they navigate available financial benefits and becoming part of the campus community.

“After applying to Purdue and getting in touch with people at the center, PAVE (Peer Advisers for Veteran Education) reached out to me and said, ‘This is what we are, this is what we do. Can we help you?’” said Stephani Jo Milette, Air Force veteran and Purdue horticulture student. “It was amazing knowing that there was someone who was going to help me here.”

Video of Milette and Richards talking about the VSC is available here.

Milette now serves as a PAVE adviser, assisting veterans and military-connected students who may be going through the same transition from a regimented life of service to a large university where they are free to do as they please and often a decade older than their fellow students.

“The average age of our veterans on campus is 31 years old,” Richards said. “Many of them have had life experiences and formed leadership skills, but they don’t have that built-in camaraderie that they had in the military, so they can find themselves adrift.”

Milette can relate to those feelings. Moving from Alaska to Indiana with a spouse and child, she was anxious about what giant leaps awaited them at Purdue – until she understood the military-friendly atmosphere that welcomed her.

“It was just this sigh of relief that I’ve got a community here, I’m not alone,” she said. “We may not know each other, but we know each other. You meet a veteran that you don’t know and you already have a connection.”

To be included on the best colleges list, institutions must: be a Servicemember Opportunity Colleges member; have a recognized student veteran organization; be a Yellow Ribbon Program participant; employ a dedicated support contact for veterans, service members, and families; and offer credit for military training.

Writer: Tim Doty, 765-496-2571, doty2@purdue.edu

Source: Jamie Richards, richa186@purdue.edu 

Note to Journalists: Staff at the Purdue Veterans Service Center are available for interviews. Contact Jamie Richards richa186@purdue.edu, or Tim Doty doty2@purdue.edu to schedule

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