Three years after promising to double its undergraduate student veteran population, the University has “nearly achieved” its goal, University Spokesperson Brian Clark wrote in an email to The Herald.
On Veterans Day in 2019, the University announced that it aimed to double the undergraduate student veteran population, then 21 students, by 2024. The University also made veteran admissions need-blind, cut the standardized test score requirement and eliminated out-of-pocket admission costs for veterans.
The following Veterans Day, the University announced it had received a $20 million gift from Joseph P. Healey P’22 P’24 in part to create a permanent endowment for a scholarship dedicated to U.S. military veterans. Half of the gift was earmarked specifically for veterans, while the other $10 million went toward a scholarship for all resumed undergraduate education students, The Herald previously reported.
Clark wrote that, as of November, the University has 41 student veterans enrolled as undergraduates on campus — nearly double the 2019 figure.
Mac Manning, director of the Office of Military-Affiliated Students, wrote in an email to The Herald that the University will officially hit the threshold of double 2019’s student veteran population in fall 2023.
“We have made incredible progress in a very short period of time toward the goal of increasing the enrollment of student veterans on campus,” Dean of Admission Logan Powell wrote in an email to The Herald.
Powell noted that the University has “a number of initiatives underway” to continue expanding the number of enrolled student veterans. On Nov. 15, the University co-hosted an event for veterans and active soldiers across the country in collaboration with Amherst College, the University of Chicago, Cornell and Princeton. He added that the University was also “finalizing plans” to co-host a panel discussion about “student veteran admission to the Ivy-plus” schools at NatCon, a prominent student veteran conference in January.
Powell credited the increase of students to “scholarships enabled by the generous gift” from Healey and the University’s decision to make veteran admissions need-blind and test-optional — as well as the University’s partnership with Service to School, a nonprofit that provides free college counseling to veterans.
All of these measures proved “instrumental in driving that progress over the last few years,” he wrote.
“We hear about (the scholarship initiative) when we come here because it’s a significant piece of funding,” said Jesse Maurier ’23, a former medic in the U.S. Air Force. “A lot of us don’t come from wealthy families. … It allows us to expand our presence a little bit more.”
Manning additionally highlighted that the University has seen an increase in the number of Reserve Officers’ Training Corps cadets, currently standing at 39, as a result of the initiative.
“The veteran student experience has steadily improved since the announcement of the initiative,” Manning wrote. The OMAS “has gotten larger and has offered more programming and support.”
Maurier, who started in 2020, emphasized that veterans “definitely (have) a different experience” when they arrive on campus. “Having other veterans on campus is really important for us to be able to make that transition,” he said.
“Overall, I think it’s been a really positive experience,” he said. “The strengthening of the community has been really important.”
Manning also wrote that the University has “streamlined several processes” for veteran applicants since the 2019 commitment, including “financial aid, admissions” and “GI Bill educational benefits.”
“It’s very interesting having an opportunity like this once you go through the military because it’s a vastly different world than what we’re accustomed to,” Maurier said. “It’s just one less dam in the way of our ability to pursue education like we might have wanted to several years ago but weren’t able to.”
“Find me another program like this, and I’ll give you $500,” he joked. “It’s pretty unheard of.”
Still, Manning stressed that the University has “much more to accomplish and much more work to do in support of the military-affiliated community at Brown.”
“We will continue to make solid improvements each year,” he wrote. “I truly believe that Brown is on track to fulfill our promise.”
Jack Tajmajer is a Metro editor who oversees the Beyond Brown beat. He is a Senior from Bethany, Connecticut and Bethlehem, New Hampshire studying Political Science and Economics. His mother operates an alpaca farm and he tried a blueberry for the first time at age 17.