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
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
Students participate in serving low 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 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 PTSD symptoms contributed to an unfavorable discharge decades ago when PTSD was poorly understood.
Financial Aid and Assistance
Montgomery GI Bill
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
Click here for more information on the Montgomery GI Bill.
Post-9/11 GI Bill
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
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 Tillaman 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 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.
Graduate housing is offered in the Gateway Village apartment complex.
Please view our Housing List.
We are available to assist in finding the right housing for you. We encourage you to contact the Admissions Office at 800-782-6665, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
University and Community Resources
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.
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
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."
Jeremy Forgue 3L
CT Air National Guard
Westfield State University, Westfield, MA
Western New England School of Law, 3L
“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 have really been 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 provides have assisted towards my success at the law school and I am sure will continue throughout the remainder of my studies.”
Nicole Belbin 3LPT
United States Marine Corps
Western New England University, Springfield, MA
Western New England University School of Law, 3LPT
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.
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.