The transition from a military environment to a college or university can be difficult and overwhelming for student veterans, especially for those with a disability. These services will include individualized academic coaching and tutoring that will aid in monitoring progress and addressing barriers. Specialized coursework will assist in orienting student veterans with disabilities to university processes, procedures and the new environment, as well as develop strategies for disability self-management.
Navigating the benefit programs for student veterans can be daunting. These services will facilitate access to their entitled benefits and address their financial needs. Individualized financial aid and benefits counseling will be provided by a VA VetSuccess on Campus counselor and financial aid certifying official to ensure the student veterans understand their benefits and receive all that they are entitled to.
Who are our Vet Connect mentors?
Vet Connect Mentors are trained student veterans who are academically successful and have been on campus for at least one year. They are familiar with assisting incoming veterans with their transition and are trained in communication skills, problem-solving, disability management and veteran-specific resources on campus and in the community.
Want to get involved?
Have more questions about being a Vet Connect Mentor or Mentee? Please contact Nicholas Osborne for more information.
Remember reporting to your first duty station and being assigned a unit sponsor who showed you the ropes? Vet Connect is an excellent way to link-up with currently enrolled student veterans who can assist with your transition to the University of Illinois. Vet Connect mentors can provide campus tours, introduce you to other students and members of the Illini Veterans student organization, answer questions about your transition and coordinate other support to help you feel at home.
Why is a mentor important?
Student veterans with newly acquired injuries are just beginning to develop an understanding of how their disability may affect their learning and integration into their new lifestyle. To support sustained health and functional management of their disabilities, these services will provide clinical diagnostic services and then follow up with education on healthy lifestyle strategies, nutrition, fitness, and adapted technologies to improve quality of life.
For veterans who sought a career in the military but were discharged due to injuries, the prospect of identifying and being prepared for a satisfying civilian career is exceptionally challenging. These services will help with career planning, translating military experience, internship and volunteer opportunities, targeted career fairs and professional development, and employment assistance.
A guide to family reintegration can be found here.
Military families can face intense challenges under normal circumstances. Lifestyle changes for the disabled student veteran impact the entire family. The family's adjustments and transitions need attention as well. These services will provide psychological, marital, and family counseling directed at the student veteran, their spouse, and children. Intentional family events and activities will be offered to enhance family well-being.
For military-connected students that qualify for services through the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Center can provide the following assistance onsite:
For more information on these services, please contact Dr. Katie York: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Center’s third floor houses 14 fully accessible private suites with individual bathrooms. For military-connected students who want to live within a peer community, this is an excellent housing option that is conveniently located on campus. For students with severe disabilities or for those transitioning from medical rehabilitation facilities, personal assistants and a SureHands ceiling lift system can also be made available.
Research connected to veterans with disabilities is critical to improve the services provided and enhance the quality of their lives and the lives of their families. The Center will be a place to explore innovative methods, develop new assistive technologies, test important questions, and discover treatments in a wide variety of disciplines. Dissemination of these results may potentially benefit all persons and families with disabilities.