DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Many military veterans face unique challenges when they decide they want to attend college. The University of Dayton realizes these special needs.
Travis Pheanis is President of the UD Student Veterans Association. He says, “You lose the support group that you had before, and a lot of the structure at a military installation. But all in all UD has done a pretty good job and trying to make sure we’re all taken care of.”
Veteran students at the University of Dayton admit college life is a major change from serving in the military. Brennan Mai is a former Marine and current UD student. He says, “You have to put some effort into it, but once you put effort into it they take care of you.”
The university’s veterans services program aims to make the transition as smooth as possible. Coordinator Racqueal Gamble says, “We talk about cost and talk about setting the lay of the land for the family so that they really understand what the process is, the timing of funds coming into our office, and really what is that bottom line figure for the families to pay out.”
Travis Pheanis says the hardest part for veterans often times is just getting started: “I’m 40 years old so I’m a little bit different than a lot of the students here. Once we get the ball rolling you’re in the pipeline, ready to go.”
124 veterans or their dependents currently attend UD, and another 100 students or so are active duty military. Racqueal Gamble says, “They really are able to bring about real life experiences and share that in the classroom. That’s been very enriching for our students here. They bring in a very different lens of diversity for our students here, and it’s been pretty rewarding.”
Travis leaves prospective students with an important piece of advice: “Don’t be scared to throw your hands up and say ‘Hey I need help.'”