At Penn State, every day is Military Appreciation Day

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — This weekend's football game vs. Rutgers is taking place during Military Appreciation Day, and the events of the day — along with military appreciation recognition activities at several other athletic events throughout the year — serve as a visible reminder of the gratitude the Penn State community has for those who serve.

At the University, however, every day is Military Appreciation Day. From partnerships to priority scheduling to navigating GI Bill benefits to earning credit for military experience, Penn State works with active duty military and veterans to make a high-quality education accessible and attainable from anywhere in the world.

More than 5,600 students at University Park and throughout the Commonwealth Campuses, as well as Penn State World Campus, have direct military ties as either an active-duty service member, a reservist, veteran or military dependent.

Recognizing the importance of streamlining and consolidating services for those students, the University in January hired Col. Eugene L. McFeely, USAF (Ret.) as its first senior director for Veterans Affairs and Services. McFeely provides overall leadership in the development, planning, execution and coordination of services and programs to optimize and meet the needs of Penn State’s community of veteran students.

"I’m really honored to be part of the team that will ensure that our veteran students get the most out of their Penn State experience, and as a result of that experience, that they are set up to succeed in whatever path they choose once they leave here," said McFeely, a 1989 electrical engineering alumnus. "We have so many good services and programs to support them while they’re here, and we want to make sure that our students know about everything — academic and otherwise — that is available to them."

"We have so many good services and programs to support them while they’re here, and we want to make sure that our students know about everything — academic and otherwise — that is available to them."

—Col. Eugene L. McFeely, USAF (Ret.), senior director for Penn State Veterans Affairs and Services

McFeely is responsible for coordinating the various units that provide services and administer programs to veterans; advocating for and increasing the visibility of veteran student services and benefits through the implementation of innovative programs and new approaches; and developing events to recognize the service of veterans to the nation, including today's game activities. He collaborates with key university stakeholders to recommend policies and procedures as needed, and serves as liaison to develop and maintain relationships with key veterans’ organizations and engage with professional societies, as appropriate.

Veteran services located in Educational Equity, World Campus, Student Affairs and elsewhere remain in their current administrative homes, but work collaboratively with McFeely to coordinate efforts.

Among the military benefits at Penn State:

— Veterans using any chapter of the GI Bill, and dependents receiving Chapter 33, Chapter 35 or Fry Scholarship benefits, are eligible for in-state tuition regardless of residency. Veterans who are not using GI bill benefits should contact their campus Certifying Official to determine requirements to establish eligibility for the in-state rate. All active duty military and Department of Defense employees, along with their spouses and dependent children, receive in-state tuition provided they are stationed in Pennsylvania, or enrolled in the World Campus.

— Military students may be eligible to earn Penn State credit for educational experiences and for Military Occupational Specialties, Navy Enlisted Classification, Air Force Specialty Codes, Marine Corps Enlisted Rating, and Coast Guard Rating. Credits will be considered based on a transcript from the American Council on Education (ACE) College Credit Recommendation Service. Members of the military applying for admission can have an ACE transcript sent directly to the Undergraduate Admissions Office for evaluation of transferable credits.

— Active members of the armed services and veterans are classified as adult learners at Penn State, and as part of that population have access to a number of resources unique to the needs of adult students.

— Penn State’s Office of Veterans Programs provides services in outreach, certification, mentorship and general counseling to veterans and Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) benefits recipients. The office is staffed by six full-time professionals and 20 student veterans who work part-time under the provisions of DVA work-study.

— The Center for Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) assists student veterans with an array of services designed to help them transition to University life more smoothly. In addition to individual counseling services, the center offers a discussion group for returning veterans that can help address common concerns that may impede a quality University experience.

— The Penn State Law Veterans and Servicemembers Legal Clinic provides students hands-on experience representing veterans and current servicemembers in some of the unique legal issues they encounter. Under the supervision of a faculty member, clinic students help fill the critical gap between the demand for this specialized legal assistance, and the limited supply of such services in the state and the nation. The clinic focuses its work in three areas: veterans’ benefits appeals, veterans’ rights cases, and state and federal policy.

— Penn State World Campus has aligned its online degree and certificate programs, student support services, and policies to address the unique needs of military and veteran students. World Campus also has an academic military support team, representing every academic and support unit within the University, who assists the military audience with the goal of facilitating student success and achievement.

— The Military Grant-in-Aid is an undergraduate program that brings the tuition rate closer to the Department of Defense Tuition Assistance Program cap, making a World Campus education more affordable to military students and spouses. The grant-in-aid is offered to all members of the U.S. Armed Forces, including the Guard and Reservists, and their spouses, for all branches of the Department of Defense and the U.S. Coast Guard under the Department of Homeland Security.

— Penn State also partners with the U.S. Army for the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy Fellowship Program, providing scholarships for 20 sergeants major to enroll in the online master of education in adult education degree through the World Campus. Students finish the degree within a year and go on to teach the academy’s Sergeants Major Course, which educates the military’s enlisted leaders to operate on all levels of leadership.

— The Clearinghouse for Military Family Readiness is a valuable, interactive and comprehensive resource for professionals working with military families. Its staff engage in applied research and evaluation, implementation science, education and outreach to advance the well-being and health of military families.

Visit http://equity.psu.edu/veterans for more information.

Last Updated November 10, 2017