Helping vets to come back

Anthony Pilota

WESTVILLE –Veterans are always welcome at Purdue University Northwest, where they can get a lot more than just educational credits.

The university was one of only seven colleges in Indiana, and 184 across the United States, to earn U.S. Veterans Magazine’s 2019 “Best of the Best” recognition as a top veteran-friendly school, according to PNW spokesman Doug Clark.

The annual review evaluates the nation’s employers, initiatives, government agencies and educational institutions, with a goal of opening up opportunities for veterans, transitioning service members, disabled veterans, spouses and veteran business owners, he said.

"These unbiased studies are valuable resources for job-seekers, business owners, students, consumers, senior management, business associations, employment agencies and consumer groups," Clark said. "USVM polled hundreds of Fortune 1000 companies for this year’s Best of the Best evaluations."

PNW currently serves more than 330 students who are either veterans or active service members, according to Veteran Services Coordinator Anthony Pilota.

"Along with priority registration, fee deferment, and assistance with VA certification, the Office of Veteran Services at PNW helps these students transition to college and successfully earn their degrees, even providing support and guidance for students during military deployments," he said.

Pilota understands that transitioning to college can be difficult for some veterans. A former sergeant in the Marine Corps 2nd Tank Battalion, Delta Company, he served as a battle tank mechanic and completed a tour of duty in Afghanistan in 2013.

“When you leave the military, in many ways you lose your support system,” he said. “You go from a set routine every day to being on your own in a new experience.”

PNW’s Office of Veteran Services eases that transition by offering veterans and service members a support community of university personnel, students and community agencies, increasing the likelihood of students achieving their educational goals, according to Pilota.

“We have certified veteran support specialist and advocates available at all times to assist veterans and service members in feeling comfortable with seeking assistance for any problem they may be facing,” he said.

PNW has veteran centers on each of its two campus locations, Hammond and Westville, and both have free computers and a lounge area. Students can also find resources for free tutoring, testing accommodations, as well as housing, financial aid and employment assistance.

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