Cross-posted from the White House Joining Forces Blog.
Last August, at the Disabled American Veterans National Convention, President Obama outlined key Administration priorities that ensure we are fulfilling our promises to those who have served our nation, including supporting our veterans in institutions of higher learning. In his speech, President Obama announced that 250 community colleges and universities committed to implementing the 8 Keys to Success program on their campuses.
Developed by the Administration, the Department of Education (ED), and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) in conjunction with more than 100 education experts, the 8 Keys to Veterans’ Success on campus are eight concrete steps that institutions of higher education can take to help veterans and service members transition into the classroom and thrive once they are there. Over the past year, the number of commitments have nearly doubled as more than 400 colleges and universities have affirmed their commitment to take the necessary steps to assist veterans and servicemembers in transitioning to higher education, completing their college programs, obtaining career-ready skills, and achieving success.
The strategies within the 8 Keys to Veterans’ Success include:
- Creating a culture of connectedness on campus
- Coordinating and centralizing campus efforts for all veterans
- Collaborating with local communities and organizations to align services and supports for veterans
- Implementing an early alert system
- Utilizing a uniform set of data tools to collect and track information relating to veteran students (i.e., retention and degree completion)
- Developing systems to ensure sustainability of effective practices
These common-sense practices should be implemented on every campus across the country.
To view current commitments and check if your school has signed the 8 Keys pledge, click here. If you are an administrator and would like to join the growing list of colleges and universities focused on providing the best environment for your student veterans, please visit the 8 Keys registration site, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
As more servicemembers return to civilian life, the urgency to ensure that they have the support they need to reach their educational and career goals grows each day. We will continue to advocate for the needs of the men and women who serve us so valiantly each and every day.
Robert “Mac” McFarlin is a White House Fellow at the National Economic Council.