Military and Veteran Resources
Deciding to get an education after or during your military service can be a significant first step to launching a successful career. It can allow you to build on knowledge and experiences developed in the military and provide you with tools to propel you towards new challenges and opportunities. A law degree combined with your military experience can make you an attractive job candidate.
Western New England University is proud to support the GI Bill® and the Yellow Ribbon Program. Most students enrolling under the Yellow Ribbon Program will be able to attend Western New England University tuition free. Spouses and family members of veterans may also be eligible to receive education assistance.
We value military experience as it brings with it the qualities of leadership, service, and discipline. Western New England University School of Law is committed to helping veterans and their dependents navigate law school and beyond to a successful law career.
As you plan your career path, you may also want to consider the Judge Advocate Corps (JAG) Programs listed below.
APPLYING TO LAW SCHOOL
Our School of Law admissions staff understand the challenges veterans and their family members face when applying to law school. We are committed to helping you navigate the application process and the steps to utilize military and educational benefits for tuition and housing costs. Apply here.
Applying for Veterans Benefits
Click here to find out how to apply for VA education benefits as a veteran, service member, or qualified family member.
Service to School (S2S) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that provides free application counseling to military veterans. Their goal is to help veterans gain admission to universities and to help them maximize their education benefits.
Helpful Application Hints
- Kaplan offers guidance on how to present your military service in such a way that wows law school admissions officers and helps you get into law school! Click here to view article.
- US News gives advice to prospective students in using military experience in Law School Essays. Read the article here.
- Khan Academy offers a free online program to prepare you for the LSAT Exam required for admission to law school.
Programs of Study
The JD program is structured to prepare you for the practice of law in any U.S. jurisdiction. You will begin with several required courses that form the foundation for more advanced legal studies. Our curriculum integrates classroom instruction with real-world legal experience through our experiential learning programs. Study options include full-time, part-time day, or part-time evening. We also offer the only live, online LLM Program in Elder Law and Estate Planning in the nation, as well as a number of other graduate programs.
Hands-on Learning Experience
Clinical Opportunity to serve veterans
Clinic students participate in serving law income veterans through Community Legal Aid's Medical Legal Partnership with the VA Hospital in Leeds, Massachusetts. The goal of the medical legal partnership is to use the legal tools to improve medical outcomes for veterans. The legal work will include assisting veterans in accessing or maintaining medical care, stable housing, and financial stability. A typical case for the clinic may involve assisting a veteran living with post-traumatic stress disorder to access benefits earned during service even though the PTSD symptoms contributed to an unfavorable discharge decades ago when PTSD was poorly understood.
Financial Aid and Assistance
Montgomery GI Bill®
Since 1944, millions of veterans have gone back to school using the Montgomery GI Bill. This bill provides students with a direct monthly payment they can use to cover tuition, fees, books, and other costs. Veterans and service members who have been on active duty for at least two years can benefits from this program and can receive up to 36 months of benefits for up to 10 years after retirement or honorable discharge, however this number can vary on a case by case basis.
The monthly payment rate for students varies between depending on factors such as:
- If they are full or part-time students
- Their college and education type
- If they receive other benefits or aid
- Whether they participate in the $600 buy-up program which allows beneficiaries to get as much as $5,400 more in GI Bill benefits with an additional $600 contribution
Up to date monthly payment rates can be found here.
Click here for more information on the Montgomery GI Bill.
Post-9/11 GI Bill®
Like the Montgomery GI Bill, the Post-9/11 bill is an important educational benefit provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs to significantly alleviate the cost of school for veterans. Introduced in 2009, it offers financial aid for veterans who served on or after September 11, 2001. The Post-9/11 GI Bill pays tuition and fees, a monthly housing allowance, and a book stipend. All benefits are paid on a sliding scale based on the length of service.
The Post-9/11 GI Bill can be transferred to spouses and children.
To qualify for these generous benefits, veterans must have served for at least 90 aggregate days or 30 days and obtained an honorable discharge following a service-related disability. To get full 100% benefits, veterans must have served for at least 36 months starting on or after September 11, 2001. The amount of benefits obtained through te Post-9/11 bill depends directly on length of service.
To apply for the Post-9/11 GI Bill, visit the VA's eBenefits website. It will take approximately 8 to 12 weeks for the Department of Veterans Affairs to process the application for benefits. Once the application is finalized, the student will receive a Certificate of Eligibility verifying the amount of benefits and months of entitlement available.
Click here for more information about the Post-9/11 GI Bill
Yellow Ribbon Program
Student veterans who want to further their educations at more expensive schools may not be able to cover their tuition and fees fully with the Post-9/11 bill as there is a maximum annual threshold. To offset additional costs, veterans can explore the Yellow Ribbon Program if they are eligible.
The Yellow Ribbon program allows participating schools to provide additional funds or grants directly to students for tuition and fees. The amount contributed by the schools is then matched dollar per dollar by the Department of Veterans Affairs. This allows many students to go to top schools without disbursing a cent.
Click here for more information about the Yellow Ribbon Program.
Scholarships and Grants
- The AMVETS National Scholarship Program - The AMVETS National Scholarship Program awards military scholarships of $1000 to $12000 to veterans, active duty, National Guard and Reserves and their children and grandchildren to pursue higher degrees or training.
- Army Women’s Foundation Legacy Scholarship - The Army Women’s Foundation Legacy Scholarship awards scholarships of $1,000 to $2,500 to past and present women veterans, active duty service members, National Guard and Reserves and all lineal descendents to pursue undergraduate, graduate degrees, community college coursework and certification.
- Pat Tillman Scholarships - Pat Tillman Scholarships are highly competitive and are awarded to veterans and active duty members of all branches of the military including the Reserves and National Guard. Up to $10,000 in financial assistance is awarded to Tillman scholars annually to pursue a full-time, degree-seeking education.
- American Legion Scholarships - American Legion scholarships offer up to $20,000 to children whose parents died on the line of duty on or after September 11, 2001 and for children of post-9/11 veterans who present a combined VA disability rating of 50 percent or higher. The award can be used for tuition and other expenses for undergraduate and graduate degrees at nonprofit regionally accredited universities.
- Donor Sponsored Scholarships - Returning student veterans are eligible to apply for a number of the law school's donor sponsored scholarships.
- Incoming Student Scholarships - New JD students are automatically considered for the Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. and Merit Scholarships as part of the admissions process.
- The Coast Guard Mutual Assistance Supplemental Education Grant provides small awards of $250 for members of the Coast Guard and their family members to help pay for college fees.
- The Colonel Archer B. Batista Veterans Scholarship - Applicants for this scholarship must be a veteran with an Honorable Discharge or a current member of the United States Military and must be admitted for the upcoming year to an accredited law school. The scholarship is based on merit and financial need. The scholarship deadline is Tuesday, June 1, 2021.
GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). More information about education benefits offered by VA is available at the official U.S. government Web site at https://www.benefits.va.gov/gibill.
Graduate housing is offered in the Gateway Village apartment complex.
The Pioneer Valley also presents a wide assortment of affordable, convenient housing options for students. Rental opportunities range from apartment complexes in downtown Springfield; Victorian homes in the city’s residential neighborhoods; garden apartments in adjoining suburbs; small houses in rural areas; and apartments in Northampton, an academic, artistic, and musical hub. Rentals in the Springfield area generally range from $500 to $900 per month.
We are available to assist in finding the right housing for you. We encourage you to contact the Admissions Office at 800-782-6665 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
University and Community Resources
School of Law Military Student Association
The Military Law Student Association is an organization composed of veterans, active duty military service members, and those who are either interested in joining or supporting the Armed Forces of the United States of America. Spouses and dependents of veterans or active duty members are welcome to join. Our goal is to create a community of support among military law students.
University Student Veteran Organization
The Student Veteran Organization connects veterans with on-campus resources needed for college success, connects veterans with students of similar backgrounds and interests, generates awareness of veterans on campus, creates and promotes camaraderie, and serves as a voice for veterans on campus. Through meetings, events and activities, the organization hopes to address the challenges student veterans face associated with the transition from military service to student life at Western New England University. The organization also affiliates with the Student Veterans of America.
VITAL supports Veterans’ successful integration into college and university campus life through:
Promotion of positive cohesion between Veterans and the entire learning community through campus and community clinical education and training
Seamless access to VA health care services and on-campus clinical counseling
Providing efficient care coordination of all available services
Local Veterans Services
- City of Springfield Veterans Services
- Massachusetts Department of Veterans Services
- Bilingual Veterans Outreach Centers of Mass Inc.
- Veterans Crisis Line
- Lawyers Concerned For Lawyers
Testimonials from Veteran Students and Alumni
Nicole Belbin '20
United States Marine Corps
Western New England University, Springfield, MA
Western New England University School of Law, '20
I am in the unique position of being a librarian and a student at Western New England University School of Law. While I enjoy speaking with and getting to know all our students, it is especially nice to learn someone is a fellow veteran. I find that having this shared experience encourages students to ask me for assistance when they might otherwise struggle to figure it out themselves. From a student viewpoint, my military experience has served me well in the classroom, especially having the self-discipline to do whatever it takes to get the job done.
Joshua Parker '19
Army JAG Corps
My experience at Western New England helped me succeed in achieving my goal to become a member in the Army JAG Corps. Western New England looked at my law school application in its entirety and recognized the strides I took to improve and show the type of person I am today.
The Career Services staff was a tremendous help. From setting up my interview, to looking over my resume and cover letter, and helping me to secure an internship with a Public Interest Law Grant at Congressman Paul Tonko’s Office.
Western New England University School of Law gave me a chance to attend law school, pass the bar exam, and become a candidate of the Army JAG corp.
Jeremy Forgue '19
CT Air National Guard
Westfield State University, Westfield, MA
Western New England School of Law, '19
“With all of the stress that law school can bring into your life, the faculty and staff at Western New England University School of Law was able to provide additional support when my military duties arise during the academic year. The professors have been beyond understanding when I have to report to my base, temporary duty assignment, or to extend a weekend assignment for 24 hours when having drill weekend. The staff on campus are always willing to help and individuals such as the school veterans liaison, the Student Veteran Organization, and staff such as our own Library Associate Director, Nicole Belbin, have military experience and will go beyond what is expected to assist. Military service has also opened many doors for summer law clerk positions, state and federal internships, and future employment because the legal community finds many of the qualities that a military background instills as desirable among new hires. Overall, many of the resources that the school provided assisted towards my success at the law school and I am sure will continue throughout the remainder of my studies.”
Ryan McLane '16
United States Army National Guard
University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA
Western New England School of Law, '16
"My experience at Western New England University School of Law set me up for success. Before classes even started, I was assigned a mentor who was also a member of the military. He became my friend and would even become my Commander, who would later hand the guidon to me. The VA rep was always helpful, and I never had any issues with my GI Bill benefits. As for the academic portion, my goal was to take advantage of as many experiential courses as I could. Western New England University School of Law offered a Trial Advocacy team and a Criminal Defense Practicum, along with a Pretrial Litigation Course taught by a federal judge that prepared me to hit the ground running when I began practice, feeling completely comfortable in the courtroom. I would encourage any Service Member to consider attending Western New England University School of Law and take advantage of all that the school has to offer."
Career Services Assistance
Plan your Career
As a veteran of any branch of the armed forces, you bring unique skills and experiences with you. The Office of Career Services can help you translate your military skills and law degree into a résumé for the civilian workplace. It offers a variety of resources to support you as you start your job search and advance your career. It is important to start the career planning process early. Please schedule an appointment with Career Services to discuss your career goals.