Recently, President Obama unveiled an 8-step program for veteran college students in accordance with the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Education. This program will ensure better student-faculty relationships for veterans attending college. Appointed as the 8 Keys to Success, this program gives veterans and their families support and encouragement while they pursue a college degree. Thus far, 250 junior colleges and universities across the nation have agreed to use this program at their campuses. This program is targeted to ease veterans’ transitions into a higher education environment.
These 8 steps outline an inclusive outreach plan that expands upon President Obama’s 2012 Principles of Excellence program, which provides protections and other benefits to veterans enrolled at institutions of higher learning. Many of these principles concentrate on the mental health of veterans entering college setting as well as focus on issues exclusive to veteran experiences.
The 8 Steps in the 8 Keys to Success Program are as follows:
1. Build community and solidarity on campus to encourage veteran welfare.
2. Promise assistance from campus leaders.
3. Install a guidance program for veterans to avoid problems such as excessive stress.
4. Promote a support organization for veterans and designate at least a small space for assembly.
5. Work with the public, including local businesses, groups, and neighborhoods to set up veteran services.
6. Employ standardized survey tools for gathering information on veterans, including degree status and academic standing.
7. Offer career services with wide-ranging resources that address the adversities facing veterans.
8. Create a plan for successful habits for veterans.
President Obama assures that the elements of these practices will aid veterans in receiving an affordable, quality education that prepares them for the job market. The program also promises to support any college providing scholarship for military dependents. The Department of Veterans Affairs is also determined to extend more far-reaching services on campuses in the near future using their VetSuccess on Campus (VSOC) and Veterans Integration to Academic Leadership (VITAL) programs.
There are numerous advantages to these 8 Keys to Success and veterans deserve the backing of their peers in order to achieve their educational goals. This program, however, is just a step in the right direction. The steps in the program could be viewed as somewhat vague, and there are plenty more measures that the government and colleges can take to improve relations with veteran students. More schools intend to adopt the plan soon, but it should be a requirement for all institutions of higher learning, not an option.
The following map is a graph indicating which schools have implemented 8 Keys to Success, VSOC, and/or VITAL.