Rock Valley College is preparing to celebrate Veterans Day with two celebrations this week, but the college’s commitment to our veterans is a year-round endeavor.
RVC ‘s Program Manager for Veterans Affairs, Milana Herman, estimates that the college serves approximately 250 students per academic year who use VA benefits.
“It’s an important distinction to make that we not only serve veterans, but also some spouses and dependents of veterans who have transferred their benefits in accordance with Chapter 35 and/or Post 9/11 Transfer of Entitlement1,” says Herman.
For those students who are attending RVC and have self-identified as veterans, the college has resources in place to help them get the most out of their RVC experience. In addition to the invaluable resource of the Veterans Affairs office managed by Herman, the college also has a student club for veterans that Herman estimates has been active most years for 17 years now. In addition to allowing veterans to engage with each other while on campus, the club also helps plan the annual Veterans Day events for the college and participates in a service project that provides meals for homeless vets on the fifth Friday of every month.
In the past, the club has also organized events such as a kids Easter Egg Hunt on campus and a Veterans Education & Benefits Fair designed to help veterans learn more about educational benefits, scholarship opportunities, and medical benefits, that also provided veterans an opportunity to meet local representatives of veteran support programs in the Rockford area.
“We’re also a chapter member of the Student Veterans of America, which is a huge honor,” adds Herman. “Being a part of SVA provides our students access to additional scholarships, resources for jobs, and unique opportunities like attending the SVA Leadership Summit2.”
Herman is also a great resource for her students. As a member of several outside organizations for veterans, including AMVets, NWVU Rockford Chapter of SheVets, Vietnow – Rockford Charter Chapter, and VFW (Veterans of Foreign War), Herman is able to tap into additional leads for her students, including job openings and events that may be of interest to them.
Speaking of job opportunities, Herman was recently notified that RVC has been approved as a work site for the Veterans Work Study program. This means any student, including non-RVC students, who are receiving VA education benefits are eligible to work 25 hours per week in the Veteran Affairs Office at RVC. While the student would work for the college, they would be paid by Veterans Affairs as part of the work study program.
As a result of all of this, Rock Valley College has been recognized repeatedly for its strong commitment to veterans. Victory Media, the premier media entity for military personnel transitioning into civilian life, named Rock Valley College to the coveted Military Friendly Schools ® list 3 for six straight years (2010-2015).
Recently, RVC also received the designation of a “Top School” in the Military Advanced Education & Transition (MAET)’s 2017 Guide to Colleges & Universities. Institutions were evaluated on their military culture, financial aid, flexibility, general support, on-campus support and online support services. This marked the second straight year RVC was recognized by MAET.
“We are very proud of the things we are doing to assist our veterans and provide educational opportunities for them,” says Herman. “They have served for us so it’s our turn to serve for them.”
RVC Veterans Day Events
Rock Valley College will be hosting two Veterans Day Celebration events again this year.
Thursday, November 10, 2016 at 10 a.m. to noon in the commons area at the RVC Samuelson Road Center (4151 Samuleson Rd., next to Jefferson High School)
A veterans wall showcasing RVC staff, faculty and students who have served or are currently serving will be on display. Light refreshments will be served.
Friday, November 11, 2016 at noon in the Student Center Atrium on the RVC main campus (3301 North Mulford Rd.)
A veterans wall showcasing RVC staff, faculty and students who have served or are currently serving will be on display. This event will also feature patriotic reading presentations by RVC staff, faculty and students, patriotic music, and a Korean War Veteran Color Guard. Light refreshments will be served.
- Chapter 35 provides 45 months of full-time or equivalent educational benefits for the spouse or child(ren) of a veteran who dies or is permanently and totally disabled as a result of a service-connected disability, or a spouse or child of a veteran who has been listed as a POW or MIA for a period of 90 days.
- In 2014, Herman and some RVC student veterans met Vice President Joe Biden at the SVA Leadership Summit.
- The Military Friendly Schools ® list honors the top 15 percent of colleges, universities and trade schools in the country that are doing the most to embrace America’s military service members, veterans, and spouses as students and ensure their success on campus.