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Posted on Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 5:57 a.m.

Just how military friendly are Washtenaw County's two public universities?

By Kellie Woodhouse


Members of ROTC units from the University of Michigan fire a rifle salute during a past Veterans Day event at Michigan Stadium.

With Veterans Day in full swing, is exploring just how friendly Washtenaw County's higher education institutions are to active and retired military.

The county's two public universities —University of Michigan and Eastern Michigan University— were ranked among the most military friendly institutions in the nation in 2012 by GI Jobs magazine.

That magazine asserts that 400,000 troops leave the military each year and become eligible for GI Bill benefits, which subsidize the majority of a student's college expenses.

At EMU, 475 students currently receive GI BIll benefits. The school has a total of 583 vets enrolled in classes.

At U-M, 244 student veterans receive benefits. The Ann Arbor university also has 729 faculty and staff veterans.

Here's some of the benefits the two schools offer:

  • Both schools participate in the GI Bill for veterans
  • Both schools offer scholarships for military students.
  • Both schools offer flexibility when active duty military are called to service during studies.
  • U-M offers in-state tuition for military dependents (such as spouses and children) who don't meet residency requirements.
  • U-M offers scholarships for the spouse of a veteran or active duty military member.
  • EMU subsidizes child care for the children of military students who are taking classes at the school.

Additionally, EMU established an Office of Veterans Services in 2009. That office works with veterans to turn some of their military experiences into college credits. It also facilitates community among veterans.


EMU president Sue Martin climbs down a ladder as she prepares to rappel off the side of Roosevelt Hall in October.

Melanie Maxwell |

The office has a lounge center with computers and a television. On Friday, the program shows movies and serves popcorn, said Monique Coleman, EMU's director of veteran services.

EMU has also partnered with the Ann Arbor Veterans Affairs Hospital. Once a week, a social worker from the hospital visits the campus and offers counseling.

"We're still building that up," Coleman said.

U-M has a smilar office in place. The school's Student Veterans Assistance Program helps veterans and activity duty military by providing counseling and peer groups.

Both schools also have Reserve Officers' Training Corps programs. In October, EMU President Susan Martin rappelled off a Ypsilanti building to show her support of the school's ROTC program.

The national group Student Veterans of America was co-founded at U-M by former student and Air Force vet Derek Blumke —who has served three deployments in Afghanistan. That group now has more than 470 chapters throughout the nation.

Washtenaw Community College also is among GI Jobs magazine's most military-friendly institutions in 2012. Last year, the school had 218 active or retired military enrolled. The school also offers limited scholarships for military and allows military called to active service to return without penalty.

Kellie Woodhouse covers higher education for Reach her at or 734-623-4602 and follow her on twitter.



Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 6:35 p.m.

My heartfelt thanks to all Veterans. Thank you for having my back. I've got yours.

Jeremy Miller

Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 6:34 p.m.

Well, I paid very little to go to UM of between 2001 and 2004. I had the GI bill and I got the Pell grant and I got the Michigan Competitive Scholarship. I also got another small one whose name escapes me right now. My last year as SGT in the Marines I made less an 16,000 and I was considered independent of my parents income despite being 22 years old at time I filled out my FASFA I left U of M with a BSE in Computer Engineering and 12,000 in debt and a brand new car (reason for debt). I also worked in the summers at the University or took classes to keep my GI bill check coming. I did have an old Jeep to transport me form my lower cost apartment so maybe that helped. I was also accepted to UC San Diego but out of state cost would have killed me. The one thing I think would be nice to have as these schools is the kind of tutoring the athletes seem to get. I was four years away form my last calculus class and my ACT score that seemed to get me in to U of M. Marine Corps infantry skills did not translate well to some of the challenging courses at the College of Engineering (which I am sure is true at other schools). Granted, some skills from the USMC helped, I just think more direct tutoring with a veterans situation in mind might have helped a lot. I know in my case I would have been able to get a part time job those first two years if I did not have to work twice as hard to keep up with my peers straight from AP Physics.

Bob Krzewinski

Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 2:20 p.m.

Whats really bad right now is that Congress is looking at cutting veterans educational benefits in their quest to cut federal funding. The newest GI (educational) bill is a vast, vast improvment from earlier versions and needs to be kept. I remember when I left the Navy in 1977 my GI bill benefits basically paid for my rent, groceries and what low living expenses I had. I had to take out loan after loan to actually pay for tuition and books. I also remember being turned down for even the smallest educational grants as they said I "made too much" when I was in the Navy.

Adam Betz

Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 3:37 p.m.

Bob, they are also about to cut my retirement. I am set to retire in 7 years which will have put me at 4 combat deployments in 20 years...more depending on what happens in the next 7. Guys who never left the US will keep their retirement benefits. All of this in addition to the extremely limited number of Congressional Medal of Honor awardees that have been approved in this war make this generation of Warriors feel screwed. This is going to increase the high turnover rate of experienced combat NCO's and Officers getting out of the military for the long haul. It will have an impact on national security.

Lou Perry

Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 2 p.m.

I was drafted into the Army in 1966; I didn't even know how long you serve. I'm going to cry more than once today. Not only for those who lost their lives, but for those who still bear the scars of service. You can see at the Ann Arbor Veterans Hospital men from my war that really never has come home. Doctor's at the VA tell me the overwhelming vet's who need PTSD treatment are those with Vietnam service. Our war never had such a medical condition defined along with Agent Orange after affects. At the Ann Arbor VA you also occasionally see veterans from WWII and Korea all proud who generally wear caps noting there service. You also see veterans of today's wars. Young men and women with parts missing including mental challenges visiting with their spouses and kids. The VA has done a yeoman's job of setting play areas, coloring books and more. Men I served with who are still around after 45 years keep in touch. Every few years we get together to note that none of us have gotten any older. Many people say about themselves that they keep in touch with those they went to college with - alumni. I attended Williams College and Princeton and only a handful of us keep in contact mainly for business reasons. My alumni association is Special Troops US Army. Additionally we in our community should be very proud of the care our veterans receive at our Ann Arbor Veterans Hospital. All top-flight UofM physicians in all specialties and nurses and others caring for us beyond comprehension. Another greatness of Ann Arbor.

Adam Betz

Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 1:04 p.m.

I wish EMU would have done something more than simply show movies and serve popcorn. Not sure how that shows Veterans that they are appreciated, especially the new generation of veterans that have fought in Iraq and Afghanistan. They can do better than this.

John Goodwin

Wed, Nov 16, 2011 : 8:05 p.m.

Adam, I take great offense to your statement. You have singled out one day (Veteran's Day) and chose to ignore the rest of the week. You also only targeted one event that happened on that specific day. What about Monday through Thursday? Maybe you weren't aware, but the Veteran Services Director actually had events planned throughout the entire week. What about later that day on Friday? The EMU Veteran Affairs Director donated 10 suite tickets and catering to an EMU Men's basketball game on Veteran's Day. These tickets were given strictly to military veterans. That sounds like a great deal of appreciation to me. Please don't let your bitterness and ignorance cloud public views towards EMU. Posting such an biased review of what was done in the EMU Veteran Services office is damaging and undeserved. And yes, I am an EMU student, OIF veteran, and serving my 7th year in Army Reserves. Thanks for your feedback though Adam, it was quite ignorant and humorous.