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Greater Challenges

Ferris, Forbes help to veterans transition to college life

by Published: Sep 11, 2013

Education after Service: Adam Forbes, Ferris’ veterans program specialist, helps student veterans transition for the military to college life. Courtesy Photo By: FSU Photographic Services

Education after Service: Adam Forbes, Ferris’ vet­er­ans pro­gram spe­cial­ist, helps stu­dent vet­er­ans tran­si­tion for the mil­i­tary to col­lege life. Courtesy Photo By: FSU Photographic Services

Military vet­er­ans face greater chal­lenges when return­ing to school than the tra­di­tional student.

Thankfully, Ferris is here to help.

Often times vet­er­ans are older, have a dif­fer­ent atti­tude about school and are used to a set sched­ule, accord­ing to Adam Forbes, vet­er­ans pro­gram spe­cial­ist at Ferris.

“They rec­og­nize that this is just the next step and they want to just get through it and get the job done,” Forbes said.

Back in 2010, Ferris State was hon­ored as a military-friendly uni­ver­sity by GI jobs, plac­ing them among the top 15 per­cent nation­wide. It still holds this honor in 2013.

Ferris offers numer­ous ben­e­fits and help to vet­er­ans on cam­pus. There is a mil­i­tary vet­er­ans grant, some­one avail­able to assist vet­er­ans at all times, a vet­er­ans resource room and even a reg­is­tered stu­dent orga­ni­za­tion. Veterans also have the oppor­tu­nity to get ahead in school with free CLEP tests and free cred­its based on their job in the military.

Ferris senior infor­ma­tion secu­rity and intel­li­gence stu­dent and vet­eran of six year active duty in the U.S. Navy Nick Galloway com­mends Ferris for being military-friendly.

“Our Veterans’ Advocate, Adam Forbes, is the best in the state. He is always there to make sure our vet­er­ans are being taken care of,” Galloway said. “[Ferris] under­stands and accom­mo­dates the dis­abil­i­ties of all of their stu­dents, but has spe­cial peo­ple in place specif­i­cally for service-related dis­abil­i­ties.  Ferris also has a schol­ar­ship for our return­ing vets.”  

One project that is still in the works is the “Patriot Express” pro­gram being instilled in the crim­i­nal jus­tice depart­ment. Veterans will be able to gain cred­its based on their mil­i­tary expe­ri­ence to cut the pro­gram from 48 months to 30.

Galloway is also the pres­i­dent of the Ferris State University Student Veterans Association. The organization’s mis­sion is to bring atten­tion to vet­er­ans on cam­pus as well as help their fel­low com­rades in arms. The group also does sig­nif­i­cant fundrais­ing to help mil­i­tary char­i­ties, such as the Wounded Warrior Project.

Many vet­er­ans have been flock­ing to uni­ver­si­ties since the post 9/11 GI Bill went into effect. Not all schools were ready for the grow­ing num­bers of vet­er­ans, how­ever. Galloway rec­og­nizes the chal­lenges vet­er­ans face when enter­ing school.

“Some of our vets face dif­fi­cul­ties adjust­ing to such an unstruc­tured lifestyle that col­leges can pro­duce,” he said. “We also can have dif­fi­cul­ties mak­ing friends out­side of our ranks because in some cases we feel like we have lit­tle in com­mon with the other students.”

There have not been any sta­tis­tics released about job place­ment for vet­er­ans upon grad­u­a­tion. Forbes explained it differently.

“Ferris doesn’t really place stu­dents in jobs. They give you the skills to find a job on your own,” he said. “Thankfully, Ferris pro­vides extra help and ben­e­fits to vet­er­ans return­ing to school to make their tran­si­tion just a lit­tle easier.” ///