ACU offering Australian-first direct entry for student military veterans
University study provides a significant pathway in the transition to civilian life from the military for many veterans from the Australian Defence Forces.
However, research has demonstrated that most student veterans are not identified within higher education institutions, with many left marginalised and unsupported on campus, with most Australian universities lacking veteran-specific support services, programs, and organisations.
In response to this gap, ACU has partnered with the Australian Student Veterans’ Association (ASVA) and several Australian universities including La Trobe University, Charles Darwin University and Western Sydney University in a successful grant application earlier this year to fund a major national project to increase access to and support of younger military student veterans in higher education.
The capacity-building project ‘From the Military to the Academy’ was funded by the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) and enabled ACU to develop a framework to bring together activities across the University to support current and future student veterans.
Its goal is to promote the academic success, empowerment, and professional development of student veterans at university through advocacy and supporting resources.
The success of the grant application meant that ACU was able to appoint its first Veteran Administration Officer who is working with staff across the University to develop and implement a comprehensive program to support student veterans across all ACU campuses, beginning with the establishment of the first ACU Student Veterans Association chapter.
The project has already made considerable progress in meeting and exceeding the goals of the funded project. But we didn’t want to stop there.
As part of the University’ continuing commitment to making education more accessible to student veterans, we held the official launch of ACU’s Student Veterans Support Program (SVSP) last month, which included the announcement of a direct entry university pathway for student veterans.
Currently in Australia, following two years of military service veterans are eligible to receive a Selection Rank in Queensland, NSW and ACT although these ranks vary for the same service. However there are no equivalent schemes for student veterans in other states.
The new pathway scheme will make ACU the first Australian university to offer consistent entry requirements for veterans, regardless of state of residence and study, and will bring all our campuses into alignment.
The program will also provide ongoing support to student veterans, from applying and enrolling, to timetabling and orientation, as well as academic, counselling and financial support.
Our goal of supporting student veterans is in alignment with our commitment to contribute to local, national, and international communities guided by a commitment to serving the common good.
Catholic social teaching has been greatly influential in thinking about what it means to form a just and flourishing society. Its influence extends to both Christian and secular circles, including in discussions of modern human rights, ethical principles, and environmental justice.
At ACU we stand in solidarity with people of goodwill, and to engage in the hard work of upholding the dignity of all, which includes our student veterans.
Professor Greg Craven is Vice-Chancellor and President of Australian Catholic University