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UST Recognized as Military Friendly
9/30/2013

Join us for a Veteran Student Open House.

The University of St. Thomas was recently recognized as a 2014 Military Friendly School by G.I. Jobs Magazine. The designation was awarded through a survey that assessed services and resources offered to veterans and their dependents. With 130 veterans and dependents on campus, UST offers many programs, benefits and workshops that cater to and support those who served in the military.

Phillip Butcher, director of Transfer Admissions and Veteran Services, who is also an Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation Iraqi Freedom veteran, believes students who have served in the armed forces deserve the highest level of service and support. Butcher maintains an open-door policy and encourages veterans to contact him to get fast responses for a variety of issues.

“The registrar and I try to make things as smooth as possible for their GI Bill certification so that the veterans can just focus on their academic work,” Butcher said.

UST Offers Personal Attention for Veterans

Nathan Schoggins with Matthew AssuntoNathan Schoggins, senior finance major and sergeant in the United States Marines Corps, transferred from the University of Houston and appreciated the personal attention and ease of paperwork at St. Thomas.

“University of St. Thomas, being a smaller school, has a more streamlined approach,” Schoggins said. “Phil Butcher takes care of everything. Other than when I first filled out paperwork, I don’t have to fill out any additional VA paperwork every semester.”

Schoggins said St. Thomas is different from other schools because of the class sizes and because of the degree plan they offer.

“A finance degree is what I wanted,” he said. “You get more attention. My advisor handles 10 students. It’s personal attention, like getting an email from Phil Butcher that’s not generic, that’s specific to me --it’s things like that.”

Yellow Ribbon Program Makes UST Affordable

UST is a participant in the Yellow Ribbon program, which helps qualifying veterans pay tuition costs exceeding the Post-9/11 GI Bill’s usual cap for private schools. This means many veterans attend UST with no tuition cost.

“Without the Yellow Ribbon program, I wouldn’t be able to go to the school, because I wouldn’t be able to afford it,” Schoggins said.

Skills From the Military Transfer to St. Thomas

While going to school, Schoggins also works in accounting at Hotel ZaZa, and he wants to go into financial advising, working in private sector, individual wealth management or corporate sector as treasurer for projects.

Schoggins said the discipline learned in the military has helped him balance work and class.

“For me, working 30-40 hours, then 15 hours of school, discipline definitely helps,” he said. “Whether it’s at home doing your studying or in the classroom, discipline is the number one thing.”

While in the military, Schoggins served two tours abroad; one to Europe and Iraq, the other to Afghanistan. As soon as he finished his service in 2011, he knew he wanted to pursue a college degree. 

“I had been very successful in the Marines, and it was very hard for me to walk away from that,” he said. “I wanted to see if I could survive in the civilian world and challenge myself. The college career and my success there was equally important as my career in the military. They were both goals of mine.”

Butcher said veterans like Schoggins often do well at St. Thomas.

“Veterans are successful at the University because they are already accustomed to working very hard to achieve goals,” Butcher said. “Nathan is working and in school, but he makes good grades. That’s the kind of student I like.”

Learn More About UST’s Veteran Services

UST offers several services to veterans that help them acclimate to college and professional life. In addition to regular social events, services include one-on-one attention and mentorship, a resume coach to offer career assistance and partnerships with organizations that provide veteran benefits and resources.

Learn more about Veteran Services by attending a Veteran Open House at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 23. For more information, contact Phillip Butcher: 713-942-3409 or veterans@stthom.edu.

 


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