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Making the Transition from Service Member to Student.

NLU helps Veterans and Active Duty students make a smooth transfer from military to academia and to a career in the civilian workplace. Click on the links below to learn more about suggested transitioning resources:

Making the Transition from Service Member to Student. [+]

As the country concludes more than a decade of fighting the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, thousands of recently discharged troops are returning home. Many veterans are faced with the dilemma of what to do upon their return. 

In an effort to assist veterans with returning to school, the Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2008 (Post-9/11 Bill) was enacted. This became the most significant increase in education benefits for service members and veterans since the original GI Bill of 1944 that was responsible for the educations of doctors, engineers, businessmen, actors, authors and teachers while offering vocational training to millions more.1 The Post 9-11 GI Bill is designed to provide a similar higher education incentive for the more than 2 million service members who have served in our military forces since September 11, 2001.

The bill also offers assistance in covering tuition and fees for in-state public undergraduate higher education for those veterans who are eligible. Private institutions, graduate education and out-of-state tuition institutions are able to enter into an agreement with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs where the VA will match institutional contributions to cover added costs.1,2

In December 2012, legislation was passed adding the eligibility for the benefit of 85,000 members of the National Guard and Reserves Troops and further enhanced the applicability of the benefit to vocational training.

Making the Transition from Troop to Student [+]

Higher education institutions need to know how to address the needs of student veterans returning to school and recognize that they are distinctly different from those of the traditional student. With more veterans enrolling to colleges and universities, higher educational facilities are making the adjustments in their curriculum, community support and communication initiatives to best serve this growing demographic.

Typically, student veterans are considered non-traditional students because they are more likely to be older and many have some college credit that they may have earned while in the military.1,2 Because they are a diverse population with a vast range of experiences, their educational experience will be much different than other non-veteran students. Colleges and universities, including National Louis University, across the country are putting programs and services in place to ease the transition from troop to student.

When choosing the appropriate college or university for their educational goals, Veterans should be aware of important and available resources and programs and that will contribute to their success.

Establish Specific Points of Contact [+]

A major frustration voiced by veterans who have returned to school is that the process is overwhelming. It’s a known fact that the military is complex, full of bureaucracy, but this complex navigation is part of the veterans' training from the onset of their military careers. While very complicated, they are taught to understand it.3 This isn’t the case when having to start from the beginning in a collegiate environment.

Higher education institutions, like NLU, that offer specific points of contact within the college or university offices, such as admissions, financial aid, career services, spiritual counseling and academic advising, will make the experience that much easier for Veterans.

Veteran-Specific Learning Communities [+]

By virtue of their backgrounds, student veterans generally do not connect with younger classmates who have not shared their experiences. Colleges and universities that offer veteran-specific classes find that servicemen and women are able to foster these relationships and enhance their educational success

Community-Based Approach [+]

Colleges and universities have developed partnerships to better respond to various student challenges. Those educational institutions also have tapped into other relationships to create integrated and comprehensive programs and services for student veterans and their families. This approach that fully addresses issues, including health care and employment, helps these veterans stay in college and fulfill their educational goals.

Veterans Do Have a Voice [+]

Institutions are learning what works and what doesn’t work for veterans. By letting them have a say in policies and procedures, veterans will feel integrated and have a sense of contributing to improving programs and resources. A true sense of belonging makes the transition that much smoother.

Viable Tuition Options [+]

The Post 9/11 GI Bill has changed the way benefits are disbursed, causing delayed educational financial assistance to veterans.  Instead of adding to this frustrating process, colleges and universities are adopting tuition options as well as for the purchase of books and supplies.

National Louis University Veterans Program [+]

Recognizing that veterans have spent their military career serving their country, National Louis University’s Veterans Program now serves them with a comprehensive array of programs and services. From career development services to financial aid, NLU helps veterans make a smooth transfer from military to academia and to a career in the civilian workplace.

As part of National Louis University’s Veterans Program, the Director of Veteran Student Coordination and his team works with students to identify different support available to them through the University, including key partnerships.

Veteran Resources [+]

NLU’s Veterans Program is unique because it includes “wrap-around” services to assist student Veterans in their transition back to civilian life and academia. The services are called “wrap-around” because they are not all academically focused but all play a key role in helping veteran students succeed in their studies, and life.

The University has several career resources available to Veterans who are interested in career development, career transition and other programs.

Spiritual resources for those who are seeking additional information are provided at NLU.

For those veterans who may require legal counsel for their specific circumstances, NLU has legal resource referrals.  

The University partners with community organizations that specialize in mental health/social service support to veterans, curriculum advising, physical health and academic support to veterans returning to earn their degree.

Student Veterans of America Chapter [+]

The chapter at NLU allows veterans to connect with their peers. With frequent meetings and a dedicated Veterans Lounge area, returning to college is easier with the support of this helpful community.

Veterans Program Team [+]

An advisory committee comprised of 20 volunteers, all with a wide variety of military backgrounds, works with the University staff to ensure that the NLU Veteran’s Program offers a comprehensive curriculum focusing on the veterans' needs and unique circumstances.

Financial Aid Options [+]

NLU offers a variety of tuition assistance programs and participates in the Yellow Ribbon program. This program covers 100 percent of tuition charges beyond the $19,198.31 academic year cap. This applies to student veterans who qualify for the Chapter 33, Post 9/11 GI Bill benefit.

Active-duty students will receive a 25 percent tuition discount and can be combined with military tuition assistance and federal financial aid to minimize out-of-pocket expenses.

Veteran students and dependent children and/or spouses of veterans are eligible for a 15 percent tuition discount at NLU.

Higher Education Institutions Can Create a Smooth Transition from Combat to Classroom [+]

With the enhancements to the Post 9/11 GI Bill, expanding benefits to service members and previously excluded veterans, colleges and universities will continue to see enrollment numbers increase. These veterans will seek support from these institutions’ administrations, faculty and their fellow student veterans.

The growing amount of government, private and non-profit resources are in place to help negotiate the transition out of military service to civilian life. Higher education institutions can serve this growing population of returning military troops through improving existing campus programs and services that are both veteran-friendly and veteran-specific. Committing to veterans will not only ease the transition process, but also make the educational experience successful as they embark on their careers in the civilian marketplace. 


    NLU’s Chicago campus on South Michigan Avenue occupies five floors of the historic Peoples Gas Building. This landmark building, across the street from the Art Institute of Chicago and Grant Park, is easily accessible by train, bus and car and is surrounded by restaurants, parking lots/garages and shops.

    122 S. Michigan Avenue
    Chicago, IL 60603
    (888) 658.8632
    Info » | Directions »

    Conveniently located in a fast-growing business district off I-90 and Route 31, NLU Elgin features 10 classrooms with high-tech media equipment; a computer lab with high-speed Internet access; two conference rooms; and comfortable student lounges. Parking is free at this recently remodeled and upgraded teaching site, which now includes wireless Internet access.

    620 Tollgate Road
    Elgin, IL 60123
    (888) 658.8632
    Info » | Directions »

    Opened in the summer of 2006, NLU North Shore at Skokie is a state-of-the-art modern campus located just off the Edens Expressway near the Old Orchard Shopping Center. The campus includes 44 wireless classrooms equipped with high-tech media equipment; four computer labs with high-speed Internet access, including a walk-in lab in the library; six conference rooms; a public café for beverages and snacks; a student welcome center; a library for research and study; and multiple, comfortable student lounge areas.

    5202 Old Orchard Road
    Skokie, IL 60077
    (888) 658.8632
    Info » | Directions »

    Located just minutes from the East-West Tollway (I-88), NLU Lisle features 42 wireless classrooms equipped with high-tech media equipment; four computer labs with high-speed Internet access, including a separate walk-in lab in the library; a café for beverages and snacks; a student welcome center; a library for research and study; conference rooms; and six comfortable student lounge areas with wireless access.

    850 Warrenville Road
    Lisle, IL 60532
    (888) 658.8632
    Info » | Directions »

    Located in one of Chicago's major northwest suburbs, the newly renovated NLU Wheeling includes 20 classrooms with high-tech media equipment, four conference rooms, four computer labs with high-speed Internet access, large student lounge areas with wireless capabilities and interactive video capabilities, and an extensive research library. The site also houses the university library research collection.

    1000 Capitol Drive
    Wheeling, IL 60090
    (888) 658.8632
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    Established in 1988 and located in one of Tampa's major business districts, NLU's Florida Regional Center serves students in 13 counties in central Florida. In addition to its classrooms, the National Louis University Tampa Regional Center features a computer lab, student lounges, and conference room.

    5110 Sunforest Drive, Suite 102
    Tampa, FL 33634
    (800) 366.6581
    Info » | Directions »