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Military Spouse Friendly Schools adds UNG to its annual list

UNG was named one of 196 schools designated on the 2019-2020 Military Spouse Friendly Schools list. It was a first in the university's history.

Since 2013, the University of North Georgia (UNG) has been recognized as a Military Friendly School by Victory Media. In summer 2019, the university added another accolade to its list.

UNG was named one of 196 schools designated on the 2019-2020 Military Spouse Friendly Schools list. It was a first in the university's history.

Since 2009, the Military Spouse Friendly Schools list has been used as a resource for military spouses and is based on a set of standards for higher education institutions.

UNG senior Heather Callahan-Williams was not surprised that UNG received the recognition. She said UNG has been helpful to military spouses such as herself, whose husband deployed with the U.S. Army Reserve while she was enrolled at UNG.

"I knew I could reach out to people if I needed to and they would accommodate me," she said.

For example, Callahan-Williams said the Financial Aid office answered her question regarding the GI Bill and its significance to her. She also benefited from Student Counseling's services.

"When my husband deployed, I started going to counseling," she said, explaining she and her husband talked at odd hours. "I needed someone to talk to, and the student counselors were very understanding."

UNG received the designation for exceeding the Military Friendly standard in the following categories: academic policies and compliance; admissions and orientation; culture and commitment; financial aid and assistance; graduation and career; and military student support and retention.

"We haven't changed the services we provide but we've stepped up our outreach to spouses and dependents to make sure they are aware of these available services," said Christy Orr, assistant director of student life for Veteran and Adult Learner Programs (VALP) at UNG.

Orr credited Dr. John Delaney, associate vice president of Student Affairs and Dean of Students, and Dr. James Conneely, vice president of Student Affairs, with encouraging her and her staff to increase their support of veterans' spouses and children.

"It lets our veterans know we are a one-stop shop for them and their families, whether it is their children or spouse," Orr said. "We are all-encompassing."

She explained one of her office's roles is to work with active-duty and veteran servicemen and women on transferring credits from other institutions. She said the same applies to military spouses, who may earn credits at a college or university and then move because of military assignments.

"Our registrar's office works closely with military spouses," Orr said. "We accept as many credits as possible."

She said UNG advisers also examine the big academic picture to help veterans and active military students fulfill their requirements to earn a degree.

UNG was one of three public schools in Georgia recognized as a Military Spouse Friendly School. The other two were Georgia State University and Kennesaw State University.

"The Military Spouse Friendly Schools designation helps military spouses select schools that will support them in their education journey by meeting their unique needs as a part of a military family," said Brian Hucik, national program manager for Military Friendly. "Schools that are selected for the list are at the forefront of supporting the goals of military spouses."

Data sources from federal agencies and proprietary survey information from participating organizations are used to create a comprehensive guide for military spouses looking to further their education.

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