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March 9, 2022

SVSU recognized as Military Friendly School, GOLD status

For the 11th year, Saginaw Valley State University has been recognized as a Military Friendly® School. The latest honor, for the 2022-23 cycle, comes with an upgrade: SVSU has achieved Gold status for the first time. Only a select group of institutions earn this prestigious honor.

SVSU meets all the standards for being a Military Friendly® School, which include culture and commitment, financial aid, graduation and military student support and retention.

Bethany Alford, director of Military Student Affairs at SVSU, said this is the first time the university has earned gold status as a Military Friendly® School, although it has achieved gold status as a Veteran-Friendly School from the Michigan Veteran Affairs Agency.

Not only does SVSU meet the expectations, it exceeds the standards in all the categories considered for Military Friendly® designation. A large part of this is due to the Military Student Affairs office, which provides support to military-affiliated students and gives them an opportunity to connect with one another.

Harley Davidson, an elementary education major who serves as a staff sergeant in the Michigan Army National Guard, believes the office goes above and beyond to support military students.

“The office shows their appreciation by consistently providing us with amazing resources, events, and a wonderful space for us to take advantage of,” the Pinconning native said.

SVSU also works to make sure military students are using all the resources available to them both on and off campus. Active-duty students can also return to classes after deployment with no penalties against them.  

Davidson is one of the students serving while also taking classes.

“I serve in the Michigan Army National Guard while pursuing my degree,” she said. “It can be difficult at times, but the office and the university as a whole make it a lot easier.”

The Military Friendly® ratings system was established in 2003 and is the standard that measures an organization’s commitment, effort and success in creating sustainable and meaningful benefit for the military community. The Military Friendly® designation – which is applied to employers, brands and schools – creates better outcomes for veterans.

To apply for Military Friendly® status, a college or university must complete a comprehensive survey, one of the most stringent on the market. In the 2021-2022 cycle, nearly 1,200 schools participated in the survey; only 162 earned gold status.

SVSU has received numerous recognitions at both the state and national level for being a military- and veteran-friendly institution for its procedures and policies that benefit military-connected students. The Military Student Affairs office provides a number of services to help military-affiliated students, including:

  • Admission counseling
  • Academic advising
  • Department of Defense and VA benefit advising and certification
  • Transition assistance
  • Peer support group
  • Veterans resource referrals

The physical office space, which was renovated in 2021, also provides a resource center with a textbook library, computer lab and printing capabilities, conference room and relaxation area.

Davidson, the education major and Michigan Army National Guard member, appreciates the support she receives at SVSU.

“The Military Student Affairs office provides an amazing workspace for students to work in their free time without distractions, which has been extremely helpful in keeping everything balanced,” she said. “My professors have also been so understanding in working with me if there are any small changes that need to be made during the semester to ensure I can continue those courses.”