Veterans and Military Families Achieve Gold Status as Brenau Students : Brenau Window

Students can face extraordinary challenges that affect themselves and their families while pursuing higher education. For many, these challenges are due to military service or veteran status. The National Post-Secondary Policy Institute reports that active-duty military students say they struggle to maintain in-state scholarships and tuition due to frequent deployments and moves.

While on active duty in the Air Force, a Brenau alumnus and retired Master Sgt. Brian M. Schliefer, BU ’17, also earned his MBA in Project Management. He says the affordable military tuition and flexibility of Brenau’s classes helped him pursue his dream.

“I was able to use my tuition aid and very little came out of my pocket, all while getting a high level of education and collaborating with amazing peers from different industries,” says Schliefer. “The flexibility of having class work online allowed me to continue my classes while I traveled on official business.”

Schliefer says Brenau’s regional accreditation helped him later pursue a doctorate in technology at Purdue University.

US Coast Guard Boatswain Myles Dietrich is completing his MBA at Brenau. (photo sent)

Myles Dietricha Coast Guard boatswain finishing his MBA says Brenau supported him throughout his studies.

“Brenau has opened doors for me that I couldn’t even imagine,” Dietrich says. “I have little extra time because I’m in the military, but I feel Brenau has supported me every step of the way to higher education.

“They keep their tuition low to accommodate the military, provide student support services for veterans, and all of my professors have been thrilled to have military members in their classes. It makes me feel like my service and education is worth what I put into it.

Army Corporal. Ennun Walker, ST ’22says Brenau gave her the affordability and flexibility to complete her MBA in General Business in May.

“They also have a variety of resources available to veterans, as well as organizations to help us military students,” says Walker. “Not to mention that they are very aware that we can be called upon at any time and are very understanding.”

SUPPORT THE FAMILY TOO

Beverly Lowery, BU ’14, says she is grateful for the understanding Brenau faculty have shown her as the wife of a veteran. She enrolled in Brenau for her middle school Bachelor of Education after her 32-year-old husband retired from the National Guard and Army and took a contract job in Afghanistan.

“The staff at Brenau, especially Dr. Billi Bromer and Dr. Charlene Wilkerson, who I love and still keep in touch with, were amazing,” says Lowery. “They provided me with moral support, academic support and a shoulder to cry on when times were tough or when I was worried about my spouse’s well-being. I can’t say enough how much I needed Brenau during this time.

Brenau President Anne Skleder, left, greets Beverly Lowery, BU ’14, at an alumni event. Lowery, the wife of a veteran, earned her mid-level bachelor’s degree in education at Brenau. (AJ Reynolds/Brenau University)

Lowery’s positive experience led her to Brenau’s online program, where she is working to earn her master’s degree in education at age 55. And since her husband’s disability was increased to 100%, Lowery says the Brenau Financial Aid Office helped her understand her new qualification for military assistance.

“The financial aid office answered all of my questions and counseled me through the process,” she said. “I was able to submit everything and was approved for VA spousal benefits.”

Rosanne Short, director of military and veteran services, says Brenau’s high level of assistance and care for military students has consistently earned the university recognition as a military-friendly school, including the gold status for 2022-23. Brenau has met and exceeded the friendly military standard for Academic Policies and Compliance, Admissions and Orientation, Culture and Engagement, Financial Aid and Assistance, Graduation and Career Preparation. career and the support and retention of military students.

Brenau celebrates its military service members beyond the classroom. During the opening ceremonies in December 2021, the family of Tiffany Collier, ST ’21, accepted her nursing degree on her behalf as she was activated in New York City days before the ceremony. Collier, an Air Force medic, shuttled between Brenau and New York as she graduated while being a wife and mother.

Collier took part in three special missions while studying and encouraged other military students to continue.

“Constantly remind yourself why you’re doing what you’re doing and understand that sometimes you have to go through something to get to something,” she says.

About Antoine L. Cassell

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