Veterans, colleges talk support for education

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By Nikki Wentling

Representatives from nearly two dozen Arkansas colleges learned at a workshop Friday about the challenges facing student veterans and military service members and how to better help them succeed at their schools.

The statewide workshop, held at the University of Central Arkansas, brought together about 50 people, including college faculty and staff, student veterans, and staff from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.

The handful of student veterans who shared their experiences Friday said they struggled with exiting the military and starting school. They noted problems receiving Veterans Affairs education benefits, applying credits they earned in the military and relating to other students.

“You are being trained to be a working machine, to be able to not hesitate, not to have empathy, but to do your job and do your mission,” said David Williams, the veterans service coordinator at UCA and a former Marine. “You’re out of the service, back in civilian life, and now you have to fit back in. You’re going from one extreme to another.”

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