G.I. Jobs, a magazine dedicated toward helping military personnel transition to civilian life, has named UCA a military friendly school in its annual list.
Colleges that receive a military friendly school distinction are universities that have made an effort to offer “scholarships and discounts, veterans’ clubs, full-time staff, military credit and other services to former members of the military,” according to a UCA press release.
Currently UCA offers a 25 percent discount on general tuition and fees to students who are members of the Arkansas National Guard or Reserves.
The discount for veteran students is limited to $1,300 per academic year. David Williams, who works in the UCA Office of Veterans, said about 450 military students attend the university. Dependents or children of former military members compose about half of those students, he said.
According to G.I. Jobs, UCA ranked in the top 15 percent of colleges, universities and trade schools in helping military students pursue their education. The magazine’s annual list was compiled from a survey of more than 12,000 schools nationwide.
“I think it’s good that UCA is getting recognition for the things that it does,” junior Kyle Turetzky, president of the UCA Student Veteran Alliance, said. “I hope that it encourages other military in Arkansas to come to UCA and I hope it will encourage the administration at UCA to continue to develop programs that help and benefit veterans.”
He said his overall experience at UCA as a veteran has been good, despite initially having trouble receiving the 25 percent discount UCA offers to veteran students.
“I was told about the discount my first semester,” he said. “But when I went to registrar’s office, I was told it didn’t exist so I didn’t get it.”
Turetzky said he spoke with the veteran’s office where they told him to try to talk to the registrar’s office again about the discount. When he went back his second semester, Turetzky said he received the discount until his fourth semester where he was told he could not receive it because he had received an academic scholarship.
“I contested it because I said there was nothing in the university policy about it,” he said. “So They went ahead and gave me the discount. I don’t feel it was intentional; I felt like it was just a mistake. I’ve been satisfied with my experience at UCA.”
Other ways the university could help student veterans is to offer priority enrollment to veterans, Turetzky said. He said allowing veterans to register early like athletes do would be beneficial.
He said, “It would be a good way to say ‘thanks’ without increasing university costs.”
Turetzky said he would like to see the university expand the veteran’s office by hiring another full-time employee.
“The veteran’s service office has one person that certifies everyone for veteran benefits and it’s very stressful,” he said. “They need to expand the office and have two people in that role, so students who have questions about [the]GI bill can get them answered and get the follow-up help to get qualified.”
He said several professors in the College of Business have helped him during his time spent as a student at UCA with recommendation letters and in furthering his education.