MilitaryTimes ranked Northern Arizona University No. 7 on its rankings list of Best for Vets: Colleges, recognizing NAU out of 366 colleges for the support it offers veterans and military-connected students. The Arizona State Legislature also has recognized NAU as an Arizona Veterans Supportive Campus.
The NAU Department of Veteran and Military Services (VMS) provides a broad range of support services to military-connected students and Veterans to ease the transition from military life to academic and civilian life. VMS works to raise awareness in staff and faculty about Veteran-specific needs through a series of videos it created and discussions opened-up at the inaugural Bridging the Gap conference.
Through a student-centered approach, NAU offers two Veteran Military Success Centers, one a general office and the other within the W. A. Franke College of Business. Both serve as a place for military-affiliated students to connect with one another socially and find the resources they need to succeed in school, ranging from enrollment help to health services. NAU also partners with the Office of Indigenous Student Success to provide services to Indigenous students who are military-connected.
Within these success centers, VMS provides an in-house writing specialist who focuses on transitioning military writing skills to an academic or civilian context. Course FYS 131: Cultural Understanding First – Veteran Integration Engagement develops an academic base for students, which addresses critical thinking, writing and oral communication skills as well as transitional issues into higher education.
Other programs that separate NAU from national colleges include the Vet Jack Resource Navigator program and VMS’ partnership with Student Affairs. The navigator program matches incoming students with a current student mentor. The mentor student serves as a point of contact and helps connect the incoming student with services, clubs and programs before their first day of class.
Student Affairs has an automated alert program that sends notifications to VMS about low grades, financial balances or enrollment concerns so VMS can address students and set up a plan of action before any concerns escalate.
To expand its network of help, NAU partners with “be connected,” an organization in Arizona that provides information, resources and support to Arizona service members, veterans, families and helpers.
It also partners with the local chapter of Military Officers Association of America to provide scholarship opportunities for veterans and ROTC cadets. Currently NAU offers seven internal scholarships:
- The Major General Earl and Nadia Matthews Military Spouse Scholarship
- Gordon McKenzie Scholarship
- John Joyce Scholarship
- The Military Spouse Scholarship
- Joseph F. And Corinne J. Dox Scholarship
- Ray Sparks Scholarship for Veteran Business Students
- CMC Louis C. Bozeman Scholarships
The Arizona Department of Veterans’ Services offers tuition waivers for qualifying service members and the Arizona Military Relief Fund, which was amended in March and supports families of those with a currently deployed service member and pre and post 9/11 military and Veteran families who faced hardships caused by the deployment. The Arizona Veterans’ Donation Fund provides small and large grant opportunities and has been used to support NAU students.