The College of Southern Maryland (CSM) has, for the fifth consecutive year, been identified as a Military Friendly® post-secondary school for veterans and their spouses. The 2019-2020 Military Friendly® listing, which is determined by VIQTORY, a service-disabled, veteran-owned small business headquartered in Pennsylvania, honored CSM with the bronze distinction in VIQTORY’s latest listing. A bronze distinction school must score within 30 percent of the 10th best school in its category.
“These [Bronze distinction] institutions have exceptional military/veteran programs and this award showcases their dedication,” VIQTORY said in its release.
“Being designated as Military Friendly® is an affirming honor that College of Southern Maryland has programs and services that align with the expectations of VIQTORY,” said CSM Assistant Vice President of Student Engagement C. Regina Bowman-Goldring. In compiling its annual list of notable institutions, VIQTORY considered a college’s academic policies; admissions and orientation; financial assistance; graduation and career; and military student support and retention.
“CSM serves a population of over 700 veterans who use a variety of military benefits, with the majority being post 9-11,” said CSM Coordinator of Veteran Affairs Laticia Ragin.
“We offer the yellow ribbon program, priority registration and also an active veterans organization and club space located on the La Plata Campus. CSM is honored to be amongst the 766 institutions selected this year with this prestigious designation of being Military Friendly® and continues to seek ways to offer resources to our veterans and families,” Ragin said.
Additional veterans services provided by CSM include a veteran’s landing page that provides a veteran student checklist to help facilitate the enrollment process for veteran students and their dependents; an online orientation for veterans/dependents for further explain the veteran student process; a Veteran Support Team comprised of veteran faculty, staff and students to discuss matters specific to veteran students and their dependents; an annual Veterans Day program to honor our veteran students and their dependents; a faculty presentation that provides information on classroom considerations that aid in veteran student success; and specialized veteran personnel like Ragin who assist with the entire enrollment process and tracking of veteran students and dependents utilizing veteran benefits.
“The college recognizes that after eligible military service, our service men and women have many options to further their education with their eligible financial benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs. Military service members seek institutions that understand the unique needs of this community,” Bowman-Goldring said.
A recent CSM graduate, veteran Jerry Wade of Waldorf, noted CSM’s commitment to veterans when recently interviewed for his commencement ceremony.
“CSM was a convenient and affordable way for me to continue to do my work and earn this degree,” Wade said. “My instructors were excellent and supported me in everything I wanted to do, and all of the issues I needed to tackle. As an Army veteran, I cannot stress enough the value that CSM provides veterans. I urge all veterans to utilize their military service experience, advance themselves at CSM and figure out how CSM can be a stepping stone to continue to grow and serve.”
Institutions earning the Military Friendly® School designation are evaluated using both public data sources and responses from a proprietary survey completed by the school. The Military Friendly® Schools list is created each year based on extensive research using public data sources for more than 8,800 schools nationwide, input from student veterans and responses to the proprietary, data-driven Military Friendly® Schools survey from participating institutions.
CSM is approved by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the Maryland Higher Education Commission, enabling eligible veterans, service members and qualified dependents of veterans to receive VA educational benefits for VA approved credit certificates and associate degrees and VA approved workforce development programs. First-year seminar courses are available to assist veterans in transitioning to the college experience. Concepts taught in this course that add value to the veteran experience are time management; critical thinking; navigating college resources; diversity; social and emotional intelligence; and program, progression and completion planning.
CSM’s designation comes within days of Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan proclaiming 2019 as the Year of the Veteran in Maryland. The yearlong observance will raise awareness of the brave service and sacrifice United States veterans and families have made for Maryland and the country.
To see how CSM was scored, visit www.militaryfriendly.com/schools/college-of-southern-maryland. To learn more about CSM’s assistance to veterans, visit www.csmd.edu/student-services/veteran-military-support-services/.