The University of Montana has received the official designation as a ‘military friendly’ school for the 2020-2021 school year.

School Certifying Officer and Program Coordinator for the UM Vets Office Darrell Lee provided details of the designation.

“As a military friendly school there’s a rigorous process that we go through that we are meeting all the requirements of the VA in regards to veterans using benefits at the University of Montana, Missoula College and Bitterroot College,” said Lee. “Moreover, it shows that we have a lot of programs in place that benefit veterans and ensure that they and their family members are getting their education.”

Lee said Senator Jon Tester was instrumental in helping to set up the popular programs at the UM Vet Center.

“Quite a few years ago, Senator Jon Tester’s office set up a working group to try to improve how schools accept military credit,” he said. “When veterans get out they have credit for their service, but it’s up to each school as to how they want to do it. Locally, we at UM have developed a policy and procedure to ensure that veterans are getting the right amount of credit in the right places in the right way to ensure that they get the right credit based on their military experience.”

Lee also emphasized the impact of having Seth Bodnar, a U.S. Army veteran and former Green Beret, as the president at the University of Montana on veterans who attend the school.

“He’s been a very valuable partner for our program,” he said. “He ensures that we have everything necessary to accomplish our mission. It’s beneficial that with his connections with the military and being in the National Guard, he understands the concerns of veterans and their families. He’s very sensitive to those things.”

Out of over 1,000 schools across the U.S. the University of Montana is one of 625 schools earning the designation as a military friendly school.