Geri Lynn Maples, the new Veteran Service Coordinator at Union Institute & University, is passionate about helping veterans transition to the civilian world. As the wife of a disabled Iraq veteran, she knows first-hand the myriad of challenges facing veterans.
For many years, Geri served as a VA mortgage specialist to make home ownership a reality, even developing a network of realtors, appraisers, lenders, and other mortgage professionals to better serve veterans and their families.
Her desire to offer more support led her to return to school to obtain her master’s degree in Human Service Counseling: Military Resilience, a degree geared toward understanding and supporting the mental, physical, social, and spiritual challenges facing veterans.
What is the goal of the new Veterans in Union program?
The goal of Veterans in Union program is to recognize and honor the sacrifices made by our veterans in service to our country, and commit to their success by establishing both a site-based and a virtual veteran’s center. The university received a grant that will provide Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana low-income or under/unemployed, honorably discharged veterans using their Post 9/11 GI Bill tuition benefits with supplemental housing allowance funding and customized veterans services as they transition to civilian life.
Why is this supplemental $7,500 living allowance stipend important?
The $7,500 living allowance supplements the veteran’s income making it easier to attend school full-time.
How does the Veterans in Union program work?
The grant assists low income and underemployed Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana veterans earn a college degree through a seven-step program:
1. A centralized on-site and virtual Veterans Center
2. Personalized attention from veteran coordinators and program advisors
3. Personalized student success services, including ADA, academic and writing support, lifestyle transition social services
4. Consistent progress monitoring
5. Monthly career transition seminars
6. Career coaching/military friendly employer matching
7. Graduation and employment guidance
How does Union’s program differ from the traditional classroom setting?
Union focuses exclusively on educating adults. Union is in its 51st year of an innovative adult
educational model that is particularly advantageous to the veteran population, allowing for an
accelerated pathway to civilian life and career enhancement through its flexible learning
environment, distance and online learning, close faculty and staff mentoring, academic
counseling, transfer-friendly policies and recognition of past learning.
How else does Union differ from the traditional classroom setting?
Union goes beyond the traditional bricks and mortar experience to provide alternatives for
adult learners, honoring their service, experience, and previous college credits. Veterans don’t
have to sit in a classroom or search for parking. Union offers the opportunity to work from home
at a pace of one’s own choosing. Each student will have personalized attention and customized
services to ensure success.
Why is completing a college degree important?
Many professions require a college degree to get a job or move up the ladder.
What about the veteran who has earned a college degree?
Veterans wishing to complete their master’s or doctoral degree are also eligible for this grant.
Do you have to be a Cincinnati resident to qualify for this grant?
No, the geography is much wider. Veterans who reside in Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky can apply.