KNOXVILLE -- The number of veterans who are students at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, has increased 70 percent since 2009, and the school wants to help them make it to graduation.
The Knoxville New Sentinel reports (http://bit.ly/SNNm1q) UT doesn't track the retention of its veteran students, but nationally, the numbers are not encouraging. However, most veterans who make it past the first few semesters tend to do well.
At UT, a task force was established last fall to connect veterans to services like financial advising, early course registration and counseling.
Ashley Blamey, the director of UT's Safety, Environment and Education Center, chairs the committee.
"People are really open to helping this community, and they tend to be a pretty self-sufficient people, so all we're doing is really providing opportunities," she said.
She added that, "They may have a life experience or maturity that's not matched by their peers in the classroom, and sometimes they're challenged by the interpersonal interactions in a classroom."
UT also wants to connect veterans to other veterans. That includes handing out special American flag lapel pins in the shape of the Power T that allow veterans to find each other.
Camille Hall, an associate professor in the College of Social Work and an active-duty reserve officer in the Army, said, "One of the challenges of reintegration, I think, is that when you go to combat and you return, you're forever changed. And no one understands that better than someone else who has had the same experience."
Information from: The Knoxville News Sentinel, http://www.knoxnews.com