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Pikes Peak State College setting military and veteran students up for success

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- Pikes Peak State College recently made this year's 'Military Times Best for Vets' college list. It ranked sixth in the country for two-year schools.

As of Thursday, Sep. 15, 30% of the student population is made up of military and veterans. This is the school's highest percentage to date.

Pikes Peak State College told KRDO that the key driver to its success is a student services department that's solely focused on its military and veteran students.

One of the key elements in this is how Pikes Peak State College helps students translate some of the skills they learned in the military into success in civilian life.

"I knew I wanted to go into social work but Pikes Peak really helped guide me as far as different opportunities with the VA," Pikes Peak State College Student and Veteran Thomas Hartman said. "The work-study program we do here is through the VA. So it's a great experience to get into that field. Where other schools don't have as many options geared towards that."

PPSC said serving military and veterans has been a key initiative since the schools founding in 1968.

Its department of military and veterans program provides veterans, military, and their families support with their GI bill, tuition assistance, academic advising, networking, mentoring, and a veteran services center.

The work-study program is made up of veterans to help each other navigate difficulties and successes.

"They really empowered me to choose the classes that I wanted and they explained the benefits to me," Hartman said. "Which there's many ins and outs and very confusing, and it was something I never really had an experience like at a different university. Veterans helping veterans is key."

The lounge inside the Military and Veterans Center of Excellence building at the Centennial campus is designed to help build a sense of community with the active duty and veteran students. The building that sense of community helps them integrate, build success, and a sense of belonging. This, in turn, helps fill that gap many veterans feel when leaving the military.

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Natasha Lynn

Natasha is a reporter for Good Morning Colorado during the week and on weekends.

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