Saginaw Valley State University has been given GOLD status as a Military Friendly School. SVSU has received recognition as a Military Friendly School for 11 years in a row. However, this is the first time receiving the GOLD status.
The Military Friendly Schools system was created in 2003 and uses a variety of categories to grade different colleges. Some of the categories were financial aid, graduate support, and atmosphere. SVSU ranked above average in most categories.
The goal of the organization is to recognize the commitment of schools to supporting military students and creating a safe environment for them.
Colleges have to apply to be considered for the Military Friendly status. They fill out a comprehensive survey. For this award, 1,200 colleges applied and only 162 were given the GOLD status.
SVSU was found to provide support for both veterans and active-duty students. They allow active-duty students to return to classes with no penalty after a deployment.
Jake Kokowicz, President of SVSU’s Student Veterans of America chapter and social work senior, has felt supported by the Military Student Affairs (MSA) office during his time here.
“When I got out of the military, I was unsure of what I wanted to do with my life, but I knew I wanted to go to school,” he said. “So, I came to the MSA office at SVSU, where Beth [Alford, Director of Military Student Affairs] and the current employees at that time walked me around campus and helped me become familiar with the campus.”
They helped walk Kokowicz through everything he needed to know, including making an appointment with an advisor and actually registering for classes.
Besides the MSA office, Kokowicz said the school in general does a good job of supporting their military students.
“The school is excellent for supporting veterans, especially if they have service-connected disabilities,” he said. “I have a few service-connected disabilities myself, and the Accessibility Resources and Accommodations office at SVSU has helped accommodate me in ways that help promote my success.”
Professors at SVSU are supportive and understand the struggles veterans go through.
“The professors at SVSU are aware of some of the traumas some veterans experience during their service and do a great job of making veterans feel comfortable in and out of class,” Kokowicz said.