Generally speaking, a Veteran is someone who has served in one of the five services of the US Armed Forces (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard). The term veteran is applied to an individual who has completed a specific term of service and has been discharged from his or her service obligation; however, the term also applies to those individuals currently serving on Active Duty, as well as those fulfilling their obligation in the Reserves or National Guard.
Many of our student veterans have been deployed one or multiple times to combat zones around the world. However, not all veterans are "combat" veterans; nonetheless, many have served honorably in other areas around the country and the world.
Veterans are often resilient and resourceful individuals who bring a variety of skills and experiences to the College. The basic military and technical training the Armed Forces provides instills service members with a strong sense of discipline and teamwork, and the multi-faceted mission of our modern military offers vast opportunities for them to apply their skills in real world situations with a workforce as diverse as any other in the civilian world, if not more.
Taking into account these skills and experiences, student Veterans are a substantial resource for enhancing classroom dialogue and bringing firsthand perspectives to course content. Despite these strengths, Veterans face additional challenges in college-anything from struggling to overcome stereotypes that are negative and grossly misrepresentative, to adjusting to life as a student after several years away, taking on a full college course load while simultaneously meeting the adult obligations of providing for a family, to coping with the mental stresses and physical wounds of combat service.
In 2009, Congress passed an expansion of education benefits for military Veterans who have served or will serve after September 11, 2001. Commonly known as the Post-9/11 GI Bill, this program is creating a surge of Veteran student enrollment which is expected to last over the next decade. CPTC is among the many institutions working to address important questions about Veterans' needs and the ways valuable support services can be structured accordingly.
In most cases these GI Bill educational benefits cover tuition at CPTC for up to 36 months, provide a book stipend of $1000 an academic year, and provide a housing allowance. The GI Benefits are like an academic scholarship a veteran has earned by serving in the Armed Services.
The unique circumstances and non-traditional backgrounds student veterans bring to the College sometimes create challenges and potential sources of conflict or discomfort for both the veteran and the College employee. A great resource is a document that The Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs developed to provide insights and guidelines for working with student Veterans in the classroom: Veteran Guidelines and Best Practices in the Classroom.
Many student veterans at Clover Park Tech are still fulfilling service obligations either in the Active Duty, Reserves, or National Guard. The CPTC Academic Policy 303-30, Chapter 7 covers policy on students called to active duty or deployed.
Faculty and Staff who work with student Veterans are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the relevant College Policy and not to hesitate to contact the VRC staff to provide clarity or details. The VRC staff continually talks with our student veterans who are still serving to ensure they keep their instructors informed of any pending or potential deployments which may affect their academic schedule.
If you are a veteran yourself or would simply like to be more informed or involved in veterans-centered events on campus, the Veterans Resource Center would like to hear from you. There are a number of ways you can get involved.