A recent executive order aimed at preventing institutions of higher learning from aggressively recruiting veterans will have minimal effect at Stanford because the University does not profit from veterans’ benefits, according to campus administrators.
President Barack Obama signed the executive order last week, which primarily targets for-profit institutions. Veterans may receive financial benefits from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) through programs such as the Post-9/11 GI Bill or Yellow Ribbon Program.
Stanford strives for a “transparent” process regarding veterans’ financial aid, according to Ron Diaz, a student services manager in the Financial Aid Office.
At Stanford, financial aid for veterans follows the same process as the general population of students. The Financial Aid Office reviews all the financial resources of a student to calculate their need. After this review, Stanford sends the student an award letter, which details the cost of their education, the resources they think the student has and the amount of aid Stanford is able to offer.
“What differs is that veterans who will bring VA money in will just have that resource,” Diaz said.
Because receiving aid from the VA can be a complex process of paperwork, Stanford is “very sensitive to the vets,” Diaz said. He added that the University tries to demystify the process of receiving veteran aid as much as possible.
“Stanford makes the greatest attempts to be as transparent as possible,” he said.
The University, however, has no formal recruiting process for veterans, a departure from other institutions that actively recruit students at military installations, according to The New York Times.
Instead, Stanford has only a separate website for veteran applicants. According to Joseph Kralick, the veterans’ liaison in the admissions office, the purpose of this website is “to recognize the unique questions and concerns of our veteran applicants.”
Because many veteran students have taken non-traditional educational routes, most apply as transfer students, according to Kralick. In fall 2011, nine veterans were admitted as part of Stanford’s transfer class.
The non-traditional route of veterans contributes to the diversity of Stanford undergraduates. In particular, according to the website intended for helping veterans navigate the application process, “veteran applicants add a highly valued voice to the undergraduate community.”
“The particular voice – not probably what they have in mind, but how I view it – is the voice coming from the enlisted levels,” said Sergeant Chris Clark <\#213>12, who served two tours in Iraq in the Marine Corps Reconnaissance Unit and is now the Stanford Veterans Group representative on the veterans’ admission website. “Given the recent conflicts, many of these students have had multiple tours.”
The website continued to say “the life experience that students bring from previous career paths or military service provides a unique perspective in discussion seminars, student groups and campus activities.”
“At Stanford, we’re used to hearing the top-down view of the military or organizations as a whole,” Clark said, citing events featuring CEOs of corporations and military colonels. “When you get veterans from enlisted ranks, you get a very bottom-up level of military perspective.”