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The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh has been reaping rewards for the positive ways it assists veterans.

The University was notified this week that it earned the 2018 Military Friendly School Designation from Victory Media; and on Nov. 9, received distinguished Veterans Education and Transition to Success (VETS) certification from the UW System.

Ray Cross, UW System president, presented VETS certificates to seven University of Wisconsin institutions, including UW Oshkosh.

To be certified, a campus must go “above and beyond” in providing a wide range of critical supportive services, including counseling, a welcoming campus environment, and giving student veterans a voice in university life. Institutions must reapply for certification every three years.

“We are regularly recognized as providing veteran benefits that are among the most comprehensive in the nation,” said Cross, a U.S. Army veteran who served in Vietnam. “The UW VETS program helps to publicly salute an institution’s commitment . . . all with the larger goal of making their education experience more accessible, affordable and successful.”

Supporting vets

Victory Media has named UW Oshkosh a Military Friendly School.

The award was made based on UW Oshkosh’s survey scores. Some of the areas assessed were graduation and career outcomes, academic policies and compliance, culture and commitment and military student support and retention.

“It is super exciting to be nationally recognized for being a Military Friendly Institution and to receive the UW VETS award from UW System,” said Timber Smith, veterans resource coordinator at UW Oshkosh. “To have this type of recognition bestowed on UWO goes to show the culture of veteran support that has been built over a number of years.”

Smith said student veterans benefit by having their own space where they have resources available for them as well as a supportive and inclusive environment where they can network with other veterans, share their experiences and grow in their educational journey.

“This culture and environment wouldn’t be possible without the support of our administration, the Registrar’s Office, our veterans benefit coordinator and our student veteran assistants,” he said.

Kloss featured in Student Spotlight

At the Nov. 9 UW Board of Regents meeting, President Cross introduced UW Oshkosh senior Aaron Kloss, who is majoring in social work and serves as the Student Veterans Association president. Kloss served nearly 17 years in the Wisconsin Army National Guard, including tours of duty in Iraq in 2002, 2006 and 2010. He retired from the National Guard in June 2017.

Kloss said he realized after becoming a husband and father that he wanted more out of life, but he had been wary about college.

A friend he deployed with, Nick Brewer, who works in the UW Oshkosh Admissions Office, talked to Kloss about checking out the campus. Benefits through a Post-9/11 GI Bill paid tuition, books and even provided a housing allowance.

“Previously, I was working jobs to make sure I could take care of all the bills at home,” Kloss said. “When I realized it’s possible to go to school and support my family—I didn’t want to work in a factory all my life.”

Kloss commended the support provided to veteran students at UW Oshkosh.

“Their inclusion and support and being able to be with people who think like I think and live like I do, is outstanding,” Kloss said.

On track to graduate in May 2018, Kloss has accepted a position in the registrar’s office at UW Oshkosh. He hopes to help other student veterans have the same positive University experience he has had.

“I’ve been so blessed here on campus,” Kloss said, adding that he intends to continue his education, seeking a master’s degree at UW Oshkosh.

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