Staff Perspective: Student Veterans and the “8 Keys to Veterans’ Success on Campus”

Staff Perspective: Student Veterans and the “8 Keys to Veterans’ Success on Campus”

What are the “8 Keys to Veterans’ Success on Campus”?

The “8 Keys to Veterans’ Success on Campus” was established in 2013 as a collaborative effort between the Obama Administration and the Departments of Defense, Veterans Affairs, and Education.  Included in the decision making of these steps were representatives of government agencies, non-profit groups, Veteran organizations, as well as individual Veterans, who had obtained college degrees.  The purpose of these strategies was to guide colleges and universities in ways to support and serve our student Veterans.  Since 2013, there have been hundreds of institutions who have committed to implementing these recommended strategies.

The 8 Keys to Veterans’ Success

  1. Create a culture of trust and connectedness across the campus community to promote well-being and success for veterans.
  2. Ensure consistent and sustained support from campus leadership.
  3. Implement an early alert system to ensure all veterans receive academic, career, and financial advice before challenges become overwhelming.
  4. Coordinate and centralize campus efforts for all veterans, together with the creation of a designated space for them (even if limited in size).
  5. Collaborate with local communities and organizations, including government agencies, to align and coordinate various services for veterans.
  6. Utilize a uniform set of data tools to collect and track information on veterans, including demographics, retention, and degree completion.
  7. Provide comprehensive professional development for faculty and staff on issues and challenges unique to veterans.
  8. Develop systems that ensure sustainability of effective practices for veterans. 

I am thrilled to find out that there’s been such an increase in the number of institutions who have committed to implementing the above noted eight strategies.  My hope is that number will not only double, but triple in the near future. 

As a faculty trainer for our University Counseling Center Core Competency (UC4) program, #7 particularly grabs my attention.   The CDP offers universities and colleges across the country a full-day core competency program designed to address cultural and clinical concerns of Service members and Veterans on a university or college campus. The program presents a comprehensive overview of the experience of student Veterans, and includes challenges during deployment and reintegration on campus, campus outreach strategies, and highlights evidence-based treatments. We have presented this program to over 70 academic institutions and trained over 2,800 clinicians and 1,600 non-clinicians (e.g., student services, financial aid).  

Academic institutions interested in learning more about the university program offered by the CDP can contact Ms. Serena Appiah at To learn more about the university program, please visit the UC4 page on the Center for Deployment Psychology’s website.

For more details about the “8 Keys to Veterans’ Success on Campus,” please visit:

Dr. Diana Sermanian is the Assistant Director of Civilian Training Programs at the Center for Deployment Psychology’s headquarters in Bethesda, MD.