Veterans Symposium Focuses on Educational Opportunities, Programs, and Benefits
Sacred Heart University, working in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Veterans
Affairs, hosted a symposium to help veterans understand educational benefits, programsand options available to them and their families. The University’s first Veterans Benefits Symposium took place on May 1 in University Commons.
The free program offered visitors access to campus representatives who explained undergraduate, graduateand online classes and degree programs. Additionally, there were guest speakers and representatives from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the Veterans Administration Medical Center, the State of Connecticut Department of Labor and active-duty and recently active military personnel. Related speakers covered GI Bill educational benefits and readjusting to civilian life, including understanding and coping with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
“In addition to respecting and honoring the men and women who have served our country, we value the life experience, maturity and perspective veterans bring to the classroom and their fellow students,” said Jon DeBenedictis, recruiter and admissions coordinator for Sacred Heart. “This symposium offers a tremendous opportunity for veterans to visit our campus, network with University and veterans support personnel, meet registrars and admissions representatives and learn about the many educational options and valuable programming available to them and their children.”
As a “Yellow Ribbon School,” Sacred Heart supplements the educational benefits veterans qualifying for the Post-911 GI Bill already receive, DeBenedictis explained, meaning any remaining tuition and fees not covered by Federal benefits are assumed by the University and the Department of Veterans Affairs. As a result of this commitment, qualifying veterans – or their children – can attend Sacred Heart free of charge.
“Approximately 70 veterans, using some form of veteran benefits, are currently enrolled at Sacred Heart,” said Roberto Santos, a readjustment counseling therapist for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Readjustment Counseling Services. The May 1st program, he explained, brings the many collaborating services available to veterans at the local, state and federal level under one roof, so veterans can better understand the range of services available to them.
“This is an enthusiastic gathering of students, prospective students and the many administrative service providers available to help veterans in this next important chapter of their lives,” Santos said. “Guest presenters included veterans from Vietnam and Iraq and a variety of other support personnel. The event made it possible for veterans to register for VA Medical Center benefits, file claims, discover the variety of academic venues open to them and explore referral resources and services.”