The University of Colorado Denver and University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus have received the Military Friendly Schools: Gold Award designation, officials announced Monday. The award recognizes the top colleges and universities in the country that do the most to embrace military students and dedicate resources to ensuring veterans’ academic and future success, according to the Military Friendly website. Gold Award winners have programs that scored within 20 percent of the 10th-ranked institution within a given category.
“I’m deeply honored that CU Denver has once again been named a Gold Award Military Friendly School,” said Chancellor Michelle Marks. “As our university strives to make education work for all, we are taking significant steps to ensure that our student service members and their families succeed, both on campus and after graduation. This designation recognizes that commitment and reaffirms how we will continue to strengthen the ways we support those who sacrifice so much for our country.”
The award celebrates CU Denver’s and CU Anschutz Medical Campus’ commitment to providing service members and their families with high-quality education specifically tailored to their distinct needs through the dual-campus office of Veteran & Military Student Services (VMSS).VMSS offers specialized services for veterans, active-duty military, and military-connected students that help them succeed in the classroom and jumpstart their future careers. Services include tutoring, peer mentoring, community and institution resource referrals, and the professional development program Boots to Suits.
VMSS students made up 1,755 of the total Fall 2021 enrollments. Of these, 1,555 students attended CU Denver, 219 students attended CU Anschutz Medical Campus, and 1 student was concurrently enrolled.
“The CU Anschutz Medical Campus has deep roots to the military and a longstanding commitment to serving those who have served our country. We are honored by this designation and proud of our robust network of programs and resources built for military veterans and service members,” said CU Anschutz Chancellor Donald M. Elliman, Jr.
The CU Anschutz Medical Campus continues to expand its care and programs tailored for veterans, service members and their families. The campus is home to the Marcus Institute for Brain Health. This center provides specialty care for military veterans and first responders struggling with traumatic brain injuries and changes in psychological health. The schools on the campus offer several programs for veterans, including the Heroes Program at the CU School of Dental Medicine that offers discounted dental care for veterans. A first-of-its-kind Veteran and Military Healthcare program in the CU College of Nursing offers specialized training based on the unique attributes of veteran and military service member population, and has reached more than half a million veterans in the last few years.
At CU Denver, military-connected students are not charged an application fee to apply for admission, receive priority registration, can register for classes early, and may be eligible to receive college credit for military training.
“CU Denver is one of the best choices for veterans,” said Leona Lopez, Ph.D., director of VMSS. “Our VMSS professionals understand military culture and the transition from service member to civilian. We recognize the value that our nation’s veterans bring to the campus culture at CU Denver and put their unique needs first in every area of programming. In addition to our comprehensive academic programs that offer something for everyone, we provide top-notch student support services, specialty programs, and a VMSS staff that understands and cares deeply about the success and wellbeing of our students and families.”
Air Force veteran Awstyn Cordova, president of Student Veterans of America (SVA) at CU Denver, believes that’s what makes the university unique for veterans. “CU Denver’s large transfer student population means that CU Denver professors are more willing to work with each student’s unique situation,” Cordova said. “The VMSS office has given me the resources I needed to get our Student Veterans Association back up and running after shutdowns. They have provided me with resources, tutors, and that sense of comradery that many veterans miss. This same comradery spreads to all the military-connected students that they serve.”