OCU was named a Military Friendly School for 2015.
Victory Media, a veteran-owned outlet for career resources for veterans and their families, announced the list earlier this month.
There are about 1,600 Military Friendly Schools on the list.
Victory Media is dedicated to “highlighting those institutions that exhibit leading practices to support military students,” according to the Victory Media website, www.victorymedia.com.
Chuck Flint, assistant director of transfer and military admissions, works closely with military students and makes sure to fill out the survey for Military Friendly Schools.
“There is a long survey that they have us complete with different criteria to get on the list,” Flint said. “Part of it is flexibility in allowing veterans to use their benefits, protective policies if they get deployed, counselors on-campus, and a dedicated staff.”
About 2.5 percent of the student population at OCU are military members, which is a significantly higher percentage than at bigger schools, Flint said.
“Veterans like getting back into a small classroom size and getting personalized attention,” Flint said. “The transition is easier, and they are able to get back into the swing of things quickly.”
Having fewer students in general makes it easier to focus on military students, said Nathan Thaler, finance sophomore and ROTC member.
“I think the reason OCU was named ‘Military Friendly’ is because the administration and the students are really supportive,” Thaler said. “Everyone here has a really positive attitude toward military service. And the things the administration and financial aid offices do for the veterans and ROTC students are more than a lot of schools offer.”
Military students are able to use any G.I. Bill benefits they are eligible for.
OCU also participates in the Yellow Ribbon Program to help make additional funds available for military students, Flint said.
“Since we are a private school, our tuition is higher than the G.I. Bill’s maximum amount, so the Yellow Ribbon Program allows OCU and the VA to add $22,610 on top of the Post 9-11 G.I. Bill benefit,” Flint said.
Thaler said it is demanding to be a military member and a full-time student, but everyone involved is supportive.
“Everyone is willing to help if someone is struggling,” Thaler said. “That makes it easier.”