Veteran Affairs Office provides a home for student veterans

Nareemah Griffiths/Asst. Entertainment Director

The Veterans and Military Affairs office mission is to help students who are also veterans in their vocational and academic journeys at FIU.

The Veteran’s Center was founded in 2013 and is located at MMC in TWR 100. The office assists approximately 1200 self-identified students.

At FIU, a veteran is considered to be anyone who has served in the military and has been honorably discharged. However, the Veterans and Military Affairs office also provides assistance to service members, Active Duty, Reservists, eligible dependents and spouses enrolled at FIU.

To receive benefits, veterans must be enrolled at FIU and apply to the Department of Veteran Affairs where the students enrollment and attendance is reported by the school. Student veterans receive in-state tuition, priority registration, a tuition deposit waiver, GI-Bill Post 911 and Montgomery GI Bill benefits to make the transition to attending a University easier.

Student veterans bring a unique perspective to the diverse student body at FIU with their wide variety of knowledge, skills, abilities, diverse life experiences and training. However, differences in veterans age, maturity, experience and responsibilities make it challenging for veterans to achieve their academic goals.

“[Some of the difficulties veterans face trying to go to school is] readjusting to the academia and most importantly getting familiar with an environment that is not as structured as the military setting,” said Marquay Smith, Veterans Affairs Counselor. “Therefore, veterans often have a high level of expectations that are considered lofty in a university setting. Veterans often feel as if their not amongst their peers in the class setting.”

To combat these challenges, the Department of Veterans Affairs has collaborated with numerous departments at the University to provide counseling, mentoring, grants, tutoring, mental health services, VA claims and Enrollment Certification to the VA for student veterans.

“VetSuccess on Campus is a program that FIU and VA agreed to place an experienced VA counselor on campus to assist veterans and veteran dependents on campus,” said Smith. “And we also have a student veteran organization on campus, Student Veterans of America at FIU, which provides peer to peer support.”

With each student being different, the Veterans and Military Affairs office has programs and knowledgeable staff in place to ensure the success of the student veteran population at FIU.  For more information about the Veterans and Military Affairs office, call 305-348-2838.

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