Worcester State University earns distinction as a Military Friendly School

March 28, 2024
By: Rebecca Cross

Worcester State University has received the 2024-25 Silver Military Friendly® School and Military Friendly® Spouse designations for its commitment to and success in supporting its military students. Worcester State is one of 537 institutions to receive a gold, silver, or bronze designation out of the more than 1,800 that participated in the 2024-25 Military Friendly® survey.

The designations follow an exhaustive assessment of factors such as rates of retention, graduation, persistence, and default on loans and is one of the highest national military designations a school can earn.

“Our military students take the value of service to others to the highest level, by serving our country,” said Worcester State President Barry M. Maloney. “In turn, we are proud to support them, and grateful to be recognized with these designations.”

Founded in 2003, Military Friendly® sets the standard for providing sustainable and meaningful opportunities for the military community. A Military Friendly® designation gives Veterans and active-duty military and their spouses confidence about the support they will receive from a school, employer, or brand.

“Military Friendly® is committed to transparency and providing consistent data-driven standards in our designation process,” said Kayla Lopez, National Director of Military Partnerships of Military Friendly®. “Our standards provide a benchmark that promotes positive outcomes and support services that better the educational landscape and provide opportunity for the Military Community. This creates a competitive atmosphere that encourages Institutions to evolve and invest in their programs consistently. Schools who achieve awards designation show true commitment in their efforts, going over and above that standard.”

These designations are the culmination of a two-year strategic plan developed by Stephanie Teixeira, director of Military Affairs and Veteran Services at Worcester State. “I am so honored to be able to serve Worcester State University military connected students,” Teixeira said. “Receiving these two designations in the same year demonstrates that the university as a whole has pulled together to support the initiatives and support systems that the department has put together to improve the student experience for ROTC, service members, Veterans, and their dependents.”

The military support provided by the university continues to grow. This spring the university has nine new VA work study positions, and Military Affairs and Veteran Services is embarking on a three-year plan to create a stronger sense of belonging and develop culturally aware programming that crosses the divide between civilian and military experiences. There is also an active Veterans Association, a club that provides a welcoming environment for Veterans, dependents of Veterans, and ROTC students on campus.

Our military students are engaged on campus and with the Worcester community and are helping each other move forward,” says Teixeira.

The support and community building is critical for student academic success. Veteran students often find adjusting to civilian life challenging. Having access to a group of peers with similar experiences and robust support services is important to Veteran student success.

“Prior to connecting with Military Affairs, I really felt like an outsider. I just came to classes, then went home,” said FarahDiba Pagnoni, 28, who is studying public health at Worcester State while serving in the Air National Guard. “It’s nice to connect with someone who understands my background and helps me navigate military and school. Military Affairs helped with resources I didn’t know were available and helped me find balance between service and school.”

Psychology major Jessica Tieva, 30, was on active duty in the Army for seven years, in the Army Reserves for another four years, and in inactive ready reserve until 2025. When she started at Worcester State, she found the transition challenging. “I was just lost. But the school is supportive of you and helps encourage you to want to keep going in your academic journey.”

The 2024-25 Military Friendly® Schools list will be published in the May and October issue of G.I. Jobs magazine and can be found at www.militaryfriendly.com.

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