WEST CHESTER, PA — West Chester University has earned the 2021-2022 Military Friendly® School designation, and has advanced to Gold status in recognition of leading practices, outcomes, and effective programs for members of the military and veterans enrolled at the University.
West Chester is one of only six universities in Pennsylvania that earned Gold designation.
Military Friendly® is the standard that measures an organization’s commitment, effort, and success in creating sustainable and meaningful benefit for the military community. More than 1,200 schools sought Military Friendly® designation by participating in the 2021-2022 proprietary survey. Institutions were also evaluated using public data sources. Of the 747 institutions that earned the general designation, only 162 nationally were selected for Gold award status, which is reserved for schools that scored within 10% of the 10th ranking school in their category.
West Chester University strives to create an intentional culture of understanding, acceptance, and success for veterans, active military, National Guard service members, and those who support them. Services and resources for members of the military and veterans at WCU are centralized through the Greg and Sandra Weisenstein Veterans Center, thanks to the endeavors of Lillian Morrison, WCU’s Veterans Center Coordinator and VA School Certifying Official.
Morrison has facilitated communication among campus offices so that student veterans and their families enjoy a coordinated system of service and a meaningful transition from the military to West Chester. The Weisenstein Endowment has been established to provide annual support in scholarships and programming for WCU student veterans. In addition, a licensed professional counselor, dedicated specifically to the specialized needs of WCU’s student veteran population, is now on staff. Expanded resources such as this have been made possible through the generosity of donors and alumni. In addition, faculty and staff across the university demonstrate a strong commitment to supporting and engaging student veterans.
The Veterans Center also offers student veterans spaces to meet formally, study, relax, recharge, and socialize, plus resources and events that connect veterans at WCU with those in the local community. A dedicated parking spot for current or prospective active or veteran military has been added directly behind the building, which recently saw upgrades, including to its handicap access ramp/porch.
Tracey Ray Robinson, WCU’s Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer, applauded Morrison for her “leadership of several initiatives related to this higher ranking.”
Robinson also established a new Military Veterans Coordinating Committee in support of “WCU’s commitment to excellence in developing and sustaining programs and initiatives that expand and support the experience of our current and future military veteran students and their families.”
In addition, the Veterans Center is responsive to the student veterans and, in April 2019, delivered a satisfaction survey to this group, achieving a 40% response rate and considering their suggestions.
Kayla Lopez, National Director of Military Partnerships, Military Friendly®, explained that the rankings measure each institution’s ability to meet thresholds for student retention, graduation, job placement, loan repayment, persistence (degree advancement or transfer), and loan default rates for all students and, specifically, for student veterans.
“Schools that achieve designation show true commitment and dedication in their efforts,” noted Lopez. “Our standards assist schools by providing a benchmark that promotes positive educational outcomes, resources, and support services that better the educational landscape and provide opportunity for the military community.”
The complete 2021-2022 Military Friendly® Schools list will be published in the May issue of G.I. Jobs magazine and can be found at MilitaryFriendly.com.
To learn more about WCU’s Veterans Center and student veteran programs, click here.
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