Military-Friendly, Veteran-Friendly Defined

New White Paper Clarifies Terms for Higher Education

Washington, D.C., June 16, 2014 — In advance of the 70th Anniversary of the original GI Bill®, the Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities (APSCU) released a white paper by Michael Dakduk, vice president of military and veterans affairs, “Defining Military-Friendly and Veteran-Friendly for Higher Education: Clarifying Ill-Defined Terms,” at the 2014 APSCU Annual Convention and Exposition.

The paper, published in partnership with Pearson, is available on the APSCU website at

The paper details how higher education groups, federal and state governments and media enterprises have contributed to the refinement of a military-friendly and veteran-friendly model in higher education.

“Since the passage of the Post-9/11 GI Bill many stakeholders have asked ‘what does it mean for an institution of higher education to be military-friendly or veteran-friendly?’” said Dakduk. “There is a robust, but disconnected environment that has already shaped the narrative on how best to support student veterans, servicemembers and their families. Few, though, have attempted to actually define the terms. Now, colleges and universities can remove the guesswork in striving to become a military-friendly or veteran-friendly institution.”

The paper proposes a framework for institutions that promotes transparency, compliance and support for student veterans, student servicemembers and their families based on the following initiatives:

  1. Government
    • State Approving Agencies
    • Principles of Excellence
    • U.S. Department of Defense Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)
    • Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges (SOC)
  2. Media
    • Victory Media Military Friendly Schools List
    • Military Times Best for Vets Colleges
    • KMI Military Advanced Education’s Guide to Military-Friendly Colleges and Universities
    • U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges for Veterans
  3. Higher Education
    • Operation College Promise Field Guide
    • American Council on Education (ACE) Toolkit for Veteran Friendly Institutions
    • APSCU Best Practices for Military and Veteran Students

The paper also provides profiles of military-friendly and veteran-friendly institutions across all sectors of higher education. 

Pearson’s managing director of workforce readiness, Leah Jewell, said, “Pearson is committed to helping learners of all ages and stages to make measurable progress in their lives through learning. We applaud the efforts of APSCU and higher education institutions to provide a more supportive and engaging learning environment for veterans, student servicemembers and their families, in order to prepare them for long-term success.”

The paper will be formally released at the 2014 APSCU Convention where Dakduk will present the history of the terms “military-friendly” and “veteran-friendly,” the current model proposed in the paper, and how the terms may evolve in the future. 



PSCUs open doors to many of the 9 million unemployed and 90 million undereducated Americans by providing a skills-based education. To remain competitive over the next decade, we must identify between 8 and 23 million new workers with postsecondary skills. PSCUs are a necessary part of that solution, having produced over 800,000 degrees last year alone.