Northern Michigan University is the only school in the Upper Peninsula to achieve gold-level status from the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency (MVAA) for supporting the academic and transitional needs of student veterans.
The MVAA’s 2015-16 rankings recognize Michigan higher education institutions for their dedication to student veterans and their dependents utilizing the G.I. Bill and other education benefits.
Mike Rutledge is NMU’s veteran resource representative. He spent 22 years as a field artillery noncommissioned officer in the U.S. Army.
“Achieving gold status has a lot to do with the university creating my position, which demonstrates that Northern is very proactive in assisting veterans,” Rutledge said. “I’m able to provide transitioning veterans a ‘one-stop shop,’ similar to how many administrative items are handled by the various services, to assist student veterans in filing for and/or managing their earned VA benefits. Hopefully this designation will help convince more veterans to consider NMU and start using their education benefits. About 75 percent of veterans who are eligible do not use them.”
Rutledge serves as the staff adviser for NMU’s new Student Veterans Association and plans many veteran-friendly activities such as veterans’ nights at hockey games and the commemoration of Veterans’ Day at an upcoming football game. There is also a veterans’ lounge in the same building where his office is located.
Fifty-seven schools earned gold-, silver- or bronze-level status from the MVAA based on the number of services they offer to student veterans.
In a press release, MVAA Director Jeff Barnes said, “Whether schools offer an active student veterans club, on-campus support staff, accelerated learning programs for military experience or all of the above and more, veterans attending these institutions have a variety of services and resources available to them as they begin the next chapter of their lives.”
The full ranking is available at MichiganVeterans.com/vetfriendlyschools.