University Adds On-Campus VA Counselor to Assist Student Veterans

photo of Kim Dickey

­Eastern Kentucky University, nationally recognized for its commitment to helping military veterans complete their college education, now has a full-time vocational rehabilitation counselor through its participation in the VetSuccess on Campus program.

In the newly established position, Kim Dickey helps student veterans with information about benefits, counseling to help them identify a suitable vocational goal, vocational testing as needed, and job placement assistance, and more.

More than 1,000 military veterans and their dependents are now enrolled at EKU, which the last two years has earned No. 1 and No. 2 national rankings, respectively from Military Times Edge magazine for its commitment to helping veterans further their education. That number is expected to grow as more and more veterans return from the Middle East.

“The wonderful and many supportive services at EKU, along with its national recognition, have led to the growth of the veteran population,” Dickey said. “EKU is ahead of most universities when it comes to services for veterans. And we have a hard-working, friendly staff who go out of their way to assist veterans and their dependents.”

Many in Dickey’s family, including her father and other relatives, have served in the military. 

EKU was named a VetSuccess University earlier this year by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

“Having a VA employee on campus gives EKU student veterans a more direct access to the VA instead of them having to travel to the VA in Lexington,” said Brett Morris, interim director of admissions and associate director for veterans affairs. “Kim is a vocational rehabilitation counselor, so she has a lot of experience helping veterans transition into new careers and find employment.”

Dickey, a Mississippi native, has spent the last 18 years traveling across the country for various VA purposes. She earned an undergraduate degree in psychology from Dillard University and a master’s degree in vocational rehabilitation counseling from Mankato State University.

EKU’s Operation Veteran Success initiatives include:

·         no admission fees for undergraduate veterans.

·         in-state tuition for all out-of-state veterans nationwide.

·         maximum credit hours for military experience.

·        priority registration.

·         book vouchers and Books for Boots Exchange Library.

·         veterans Bridge to College Success cohort classes.

·         veterans orientation course. (Last year, this course led to the publication by EKU of “The Journal of Military Experience,” a compilation of stories, poetry and artwork by EKU student veterans that earned EKU Program of the Year recognition from the national Student Veterans of America organization.)

·         veteran-helpful withdrawal and readmission policy.

·         vet-2-vet sponsorship program and active Vets Club.

·         recreational and other extracurricular activities.

·         specially designated housing for student veterans.

·         unique Veteran Studies minor to help those who haven’t served in the military to better understand the issues that veterans face, and to help the veterans themselves deal with those issues.

In addition to the Military Times honors, Eastern was also recognized by G.I. Jobs magazine as a Military Friendly School in 2009, 2010 and 2011 and has been named a  Pat Tillman Military Scholar Partnership University, one of only 14 in the nation. Recently, EKU senior Andrew Napier was named one of 59 Tillman Military Scholars nationwide.

For more information about services available to veterans at EKU, contact the university’s Veterans Affairs Office at 859-622-7838 or visit va.eku.edu.

Published on June 15, 2012