Veteran photo

The University of Texas at San Antonio’s recent commendations from the Military Advanced Education and Military Times continue the university’s trend of exemplary military outreach services.

The Military Advanced Education (MAE) recognized UTSA as a top university in its 2015 MAE Guide to Colleges and Universities. MAE assesses universities based on their military culture, financial aid, flexibility, on-campus support and online services.

“We believe the guide serves as an invaluable tool for both education services officers and transition officers when advising service members about their educational opportunities,” said MAE editor Kelly Fodel.

The annual MAE Guide helps prospective students identify institutions consistent with their military, educational and career preferences.

Recognized by Military Times last month, UTSA will be included in their Best for Vets: Colleges 2015 rankings. Selecting top universities, Best for Vets considers variables such as veteran-students’ graduation, retention, persistence and course completion rates.

“Recognizing only the schools that do the most, we believe we’re helping to raise the bar in veteran student services,” said Amanda Miller, the editor of Best for Vets.

Currently, nearly 3,000 students — 10 percent — at UTSA are military veterans.

UTSA student and Iraq war veteran Tyler Wynne serves as the president of the UTSA Student Veteran Association, a community of veterans that fosters an environment conducive to veteran’s college success.

“SVA is what brought me closer to campus,” said Wynne. “It helps (veterans) make the transition to civilian life.”

Wynne agrees that UTSA is invested in veteran success. UTSA has the VetsSuccess program with two VA counselors, an on-campus military liaison and the SVA.

“The staff here definitely cares,” said Wynne.

The UTSA SVA, said Wynne, “gives veterans the tools to civilianize: focus, transitions and even clothing. The tools to get away from the military mentality — in a healthy sense — and move forward.”

The United States Department of Education identifies keys for a veteran’s college success. Keys include creating a campus culture; offering career, academic and financial advice; and creating a designated space for veterans to gather.

UTSA does not currently have an area on campus for student-veterans. “A designated space at UTSA falls under the eight keys to success,” said Paul Benevides, the UTSA Downtown Campus Representative.

This semester, however, the SVA proposed converting the University Center Tejas Lounge into a location for student-veterans.

“We’re not trying to kick (students) out and take over the space,” explained Wynne. “Our job is to be the representative voice of all veterans, whether or not they are members.”

During the final meeting of the fall semester, the Student Government Association (SGA) — responding to the SVA’s proposal for a student space — submitted a resolution that, if passed, would call designated of a room for student veterans .

“Furthering vets’ success is that (common) room,” emphasizes Wynne. “It’s incredibly critical because it would be a healing point. They could share stories knowing the people in there are veterans (too), and it’s safe to talk to them there — that’s just key.”

SGA will continue voting on the resolution until the association reconvenes in January to consider the resolution.

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