Veterans Assisting Veterans at Penn College

Published 10.31.2014

Student News
Faculty & Staff

While Veterans Day (Nov. 11) provides an annual salute to the countless individuals who have served in the U.S. armed forces, veterans’ advocacy is a daily priority at Pennsylvania College of Technology.

Four active and former military personnel who provide assistance to their fellow veterans at the college’s Financial Aid Office personify that priority. Their service facilitating the transition from soldier to student was one of the factors considered by Victory Media in naming Penn College a Military Friendly School for the sixth consecutive year.

Retired Army Master Sgt. Chester M. Beaver is the college’s veterans affairs coordinator. In that role, Beaver certifies veteran student enrollment to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and ensures that educational benefit payments are verified and applied to their student accounts. He also oversees three veteran students hired under the VA Work-Study Program.

Petty Officer 3rd Class Sarah E. Ruhlman (Coast Guard), of New Oxford, a web and interactive media major; Pfc. Jacob M. Heuman (Pennsylvania Army National Guard), of Boiling Springs, majoring in building automation technology; and retired Sgt. 1st Class Michael D. Seitzer (Army/Marines), of Williamsport, a business management major, are the college’s VA Work-Study students for the 2014-15 academic year. All devote 20 to 25 hours per week to the college’s Veterans Affairs Office.

Chester M. Beaver (second from left), veterans affairs specialist for Penn College’s Financial Aid Office, with (from left) Veterans Administration work-study students Michael D. Seitzer, Sarah E. Ruhlman and Jacob M. Heuman.The three students assist veterans in processing their applications for educational benefits from the VA, the Department of Defense and the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency. While serving as mentors, the Work-Study students also help veterans complete the Penn College application and enrollment process.

“For most veterans who arrive at Penn College, the first person they see is one of the Work-Study students,” Beaver said. “It’s a valuable resource for the new students to have a veteran who has navigated the sometimes confusing path from service member to college student. They can relate to the situations that our new veteran students face, because in many cases, they experienced the same issues. I think it is very reassuring for new veteran students to see a fellow veteran who has made the successful transition to student.”

There are approximately 370 veteran students enrolled at the college.

“We are quite pleased to have so many veterans on campus,” said Dennis L. Correll, associate dean for admissions and financial aid. “They have provided a valuable service to our country, and we appreciate the perspective and skills they add to the college community. We’re fortunate to have a dedicated staff of fellow veterans to ease their transition to college and assist them as they seek a degree.”

When veterans graduate from Penn College, they are presented with honor cords – colored red, white and blue – to adorn their commencement gowns. Veterans are recognized at each of the college’s five annual graduation ceremonies. That recognition usually sparks the most sustained applause during commencement.

For more information about the Financial Aid Office’s assistance to veterans, call 570-327-4766.

For more about Penn College, which is celebrating its Centennial throughout 2014, email the Admissions Office or call toll-free 800-367-9222.