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September 21, 2021

Veterans agency recognizes SVSU

University earns veteran-friendly designation for 7th consecutive year

For the seventh consecutive year, the Michigan Veteran Affairs Agency (MVAA) has recognized Saginaw Valley State University as a Veteran-Friendly School for the 2021-2022 academic year.   

“We take pride in meeting the seven criteria set forth by MVAA and we are committed to supporting our military-connected students through their entire educational pursuit,” said Bethany Alford, SVSU director of Military Student Affairs, special assistant to the provost and dean of students. “I always appreciate this designation a little more because it is specific to Michigan, and we consistently rank at the Gold level.”   

The Veteran-Friendly Schools (VFS) program recognizes postsecondary institutions for their commitment to supporting the needs of veterans and military-connected students. Schools are granted Gold-, Silver- or Bronze-level status based on seven criteria:  

  • Established process for identifying student veterans  
  • Veteran-specific website  
  • Active student-operated veterans club or association  
  • Veteran-specific career services, resources, advising and/or outcome monitoring  
  • On-campus veteran's coordinator and/or designated staff point of contact  
  • System to evaluate and award credit based on military training and experience  
  • Monitoring and evaluation system for student veteran academic retention, transfer and graduation rates.  

Gold-level status is granted to institutions meeting six or seven of the criteria. Institutions meeting four of the criteria earn Silver-level status, and those meeting three of the criteria are granted Bronze-level status.  

SVSU is one of 37 institutions to earn Gold-level status this year, according to an announcement from the MVAA. Since the program was created in 2013, there has been a steady increase in the number of schools dedicated to enrolling student veterans.  

“Since its inception, the Veteran-Friendly Schools program has recognized those institutions that have the drive and passion for serving those that have served in the military,” said Chris Taylor, MVAA education analyst. “I'm excited to see the number of schools who continue to innovate in their programming grow, particularly after a pandemic changed the face of education at all levels, including our post-secondary institutions.”  

Alford noted that SVSU continues to improve service for veterans and military-connected students.     

“One area that we continue to review and expand is our system to evaluate and award credit based on military training and experience,” she said. “Our faculty has been supportive, our registrar’s office innovative, and the administration encouraging as our military credit committee works to create new direct equivalencies. This expedites the path for our military-connected students to complete their degrees and begin their careers.” 

SVSU’s Military Student Affairs office is dedicated to the needs and concerns of all military-affiliated students. The office provides a number of services designed to help both active and veteran military students navigate the university landscape to successfully complete their degree and transition into graduate school or the workforce. Three percent of SVSU’s student body is affiliated with the military.   

Alford added that the office space is being renovated and will include more computer space, a private study room, a comfortable resource area, a private conference room, and a small kitchen area for refreshments.   

This year, SVSU also has been recognized with a Military Times Best for Vets: Colleges ranking and with the Military Friendly Silver Designation by the company VIQTORY.