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Students Who Are Military Veterans or Active-Duty

Published November 5, 2014

The University at Buffalo welcomes students with military experience, offering a variety of benefits to help veterans or qualified dependents of veterans pursue their education.   According to the 2014 U.S. News rankings, UB is one of the best colleges for veterans, at No. 23.  UB has also been named a Military Friendly School, is a Yellow Ribbon School and is an institutional member of both the Service Opportunity Colleges (SOC) and the Concurrent Admissions Program (ConAP).   

The university encourages the enrollment of incoming veterans and has nearly 400 veteran students enrolled and receiving GI benefits. The U.S. News and World Report’s “Best Colleges for Veterans" ranking evaluates schools that participate in federal initiatives to help veterans and active service members apply, pay for and complete their degrees. 

As U.S. military personnel transition out of their service, education is a great bridge to civilian careers.  With the troop drawdowns in Iraq and Afghanistan, veterans have been entering colleges and universities, including UB, at increasing rates.  UB's wide range of academic options and degree programs offer military and veteran students a pathway to transfer skills hard-earned in service to a career in their field of interest.  

The university’s advocacy on behalf of veterans has earned it the label of “Military Friendly School” from Victory Media, a well-regarded, veteran-owned ratings company. Only the top 20 percent of institutions nationwide earn this distinction for creating a superb experience for military students.

UB's Veteran Services Office, opened in 2013, celebrates the accomplishments of student veterans and provides access to services that will help them succeed at the university. The office serves as a central point of contact and referral for veterans who enroll at UB.

"Our mission is to ease the transition of veterans and help them balance college life with their military, career, family and personal goals," says Daniel Ryan, Phd, Director UB Veteran Services Office. "UB's Veteran Services office provides a comfortable place where student veterans can access on- and off-campus resources to meet their unique needs."

UB staffers are trained to answer veterans' questions about

  • undergraduate military transcripts or DD Form 214 (discharge document) and how that may translate into undergraduate college credit
  • VA benefits, federal aid and state aid
  • certification documentation

Twice a year, after summer and winter orientation, the Veterans Services Office hosts a “Veteran’s Welcome” information session where attendees learn how to tap veteran-specific campus resources, receive educational credit for military service and maximize their GI bill benefits. As a participant in the VA’s Yellow Ribbon Program, UB also began offering in-state tuition cost to up to five out-of-state veterans.

The university also holds military preview days specially designed for our military and veteran undergraduate, transfer and graduate students.  Attendees meet with UB’s Director of Veterans Affairs, members of Financial Aid and Academic Advisors.  It also provides an opportunity for military and veteran students to learn how they can leverage their military experience into their civilian career. 

The university understands that conditions such as PTSD and traumatic brain injury (TBI) often compromise a person's ability to concentrate, study and learn. At worst, they can lead to depression, substance abuse or suicide. UB’s Office of Accessibility Resources provides assistance for those dealing with deployment-related injuries, disabilities and mental illness so that they can access and benefit from all programs, services and activities.

Recognizing that student veterans crave fellowship with their own, the UB Veterans Lounge, located on the South Campus, provides meeting place for veterans, a quiet study area and a resource for Veteran services on campus and in the community. The lounge is equipped with a kitchen, a group study area with laptop connection and a wide-screen TV and is staffed by a veteran’s benefits coordinator.

The lounge and nearby conference room also serve as home base for the UB Veterans Association, a student group formed to foster camaraderie and community service, particularly in service to fellow vets. Members are linked together by a common experience and desire to make the college years fulfilling and rewarding.  Among its activities, the group provides a “duty phone” and distributes a home-starter kits to homeless veterans transitioning out of shelters.

The duty phone is a cellphone manned by six students who are veterans or active duty military personnel. The phone passes hands on a weekly basis, with the designated call taker pledging to keep it close at all times and to abstain from drinking.  UB’s Veteran Services funds the duty phone, which is believed to be the only one of its kind on a college campus. (“Stars and Stripes” magazine recently reached out to the association, having never heard of a duty phone in a university setting before.) Students who staff the duty phone receive peer-counseling training through UB Counseling Services or through the military if they’re on active duty. 

UB currently offers an Army ROTC program in conjunction with Canisius College. This program allows all qualified individuals to achieve an officers commission into the US Army, Army Reserves or National Guard.

To help close gaps in the quality of health care received by veterans and their families, the UB School of Social Work and the UB School of Nursing have collaborated to form Joining Forces-UB.  Under this project, UB has develop a comprehensive veteran care educational program for nursing and social work students and is improving training and service delivery for health care providers who serve veterans and military families.

UB’s version of this national “Joining Forces” initiative, launched by First Lady Michelle Obama and Jill Biden in 2010, aims to improve health and mental health outcomes for veterans and military families by training graduate social work and nursing students to work effectively with these individuals. The project includes educational programs in both the Master of Social Work (MSW) and Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) programs.

The national and local Joining Forces initiative hopes to impact the lives of more than 22 million veterans in the U.S., the 900,000 veterans in New York State and approximately 112,000 veterans in the five Western New York counties.