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The University of Texas at Austin - What Starts Here Changes The World The University of Texas at Austin Division of Student Affairs

Returning Veteran Students Information
for Faculty & Staff

CMHC Business Hours:
Monday thru Friday, 8:00am - 5:00pm
Phone: (512) 471-3515 - Student Services Building 5th Floor
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Adjustment Issues
Classroom Discussions
Services for Returning Veteran Students

We anticipate that there will be a gradual increase in the number of veterans returning from combat services in Iraq and Afghanistan who will be using their veteran's education benefits and enrolling at UT and other universities. Many of these soldiers are from National Guard and Reserve units and therefore are anxious to separate from the military to return to school and civilian life.

From Soldier to Student: Making the Transition to UT

Adjustment Issues

The vast majority of veterans, including those who have been through combat, are highly resilient. Their leadership experiences, maturity, and awareness of global affairs can be tremendous assets to the learning environment when space is created for them. However, some may be uncomfortable identifying themselves as veterans, and others may find themselves having difficulty with the transition to school. These difficulties may include symptoms of posttraumatic stress, depression, anxiety, and social adjustment problems. Discovery of a medical problem or psychological disorder during one of the many exit examinations all military members must complete frequently results in a hold on dismissal from service. As a result, those who begin to experience symptoms while still in the military frequently avoid seeking help prior to their separation.

Many of these veterans will be returning from an extended period of exposure to severe emotional or mental trauma, hypervigilance, and highly stressful working and living conditions. As they return to school, some may experience difficulty and frustration adjusting to the stress and demands of university life. Many may experience emotional and cognitive impairments that interfere with their ability to concentrate and perform academically. They may also experience family or interpersonal problems that affect social functioning. The added stress of social and interpersonal problems can also negatively affect academic functioning. They may communicate to you about their distress through direct conversation, in-class comments, or in written comments in their course assignments or e-mails.

Classroom Discussions

Some returning veterans may be highly sensitive to political and other discussions about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Jackson and Sheehan (2005) have noted that some recent combat veteran students have reported feeling silenced and disenfranchised by political class discussions in which comments tilted in one political direction are made by students and professors whom they believe lack accurate information.

Class discussions regarding important political and social issues should not be suppressed. In issues related to these wars, combat veteran students should be given the opportunity to share their views and opinions based upon their experiences. Also, in discussions about the wars, it is important to include distinctions between political decisions made by government leaders and the experiences and efforts of combat soldiers.

Services for Returning Veteran Students

If you become aware of students who have recently returned from combat service and are having some difficulty adjusting to school, please refer them to the Counseling Center & Mental Health Center 512-471-3515. We are available to consult with you on how to refer a student to us.

Also, please call to let us know that you have referred the student. Our role will primarily be to provide them personal support and to help connect them with the appropriate services and resources to facilitate their adjustment to the demands of school. For those veterans who are experiencing more acute PTSD and war zone stress reactions, or have more intense treatment needs, our primary role will be to help connect them with medical and psychological treatment services through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Returning veterans are entitled to medical and psychological services, free of charge, from the Department of Veterans Affairs for two years after their return, or longer if necessary. UT veteran students can contact one of the facilities for assistance found in the left-hand column.

Websites for these and other facilities are available through the Department of Veterans Affairs:

Department of Veterans Affairs

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