Serving Those Who Have Honorably Served
November 10, 2022
By J. Charlotte Jarrett ’08
With flexible class times, credits for military learning, and affordable financial options, Rollins offers an ecosystem of support for veterans as they return from service.
Rollins College began serving military service members and veterans more than 60 years ago with the formation of programs designed for returning World War II soldiers. Since then, the College has expanded offerings, added graduate programs, and adapted to the ever-changing needs of our veteran population.
Today, Rollins’ Professional Advancement and Graduate Studies programs are tailor-made to support students who are juggling multiple responsibilities, especially our veterans. With flexible class times, a robust network of support, credits for military learning, and access to financial aid, Rollins has so much to give to those who have given so much.
Ashley Coleman ’21 came to Rollins after serving in the Army as a logistics coordinator. Working in a hangar with Black Hawk helicopters, she used her talents to manage procurement, maintenance, and transportation of military material, facilities, and personnel while also providing direction and technical guidance for supply chain management.
“I joined the military because I always wanted to serve my country,” says Coleman. “I’ve loved the military since I was a child, so it only made sense for me to join.”
After participating in JROTC for four years in high school and earning a recommendation to West Point, Coleman naturally followed a path to military service. Now she looks back on that time with gratitude for the person it helped her become—and where it led next.
Enlisting at Rollins
After six years in the Army, Coleman knew earning a degree in business was her best next step. And the perfect place to pursue that passion?
“Honestly, I chose Rollins as a bet,” she says. “I bet on myself. I never thought I would get in because of how prestigious it was. But I figured I’d try anyway, and I am so thankful that I did.”
It was a wager that paid off big time. Coleman says she loved that the Rollins family welcomed so many military veterans and had abundant resources to help them achieve their goals.
“The tools I learned at Rollins have forever changed my life,” she adds. “From the amazing staff and administrators to the professors, it felt like a family.”
Coleman received the Pell Grant, a federal aid program designed to assist undergraduates who display exceptional financial need. Rollins also offers financial support to veterans through programs like the Forever GI Bill, which offers tuition benefits, housing allowance, and book allowance for eligible veterans, and the Yellow Ribbon Program, where eligible veterans and qualified dependents can receive enough grant aid from the VA and Rollins to pay tuition costs and fees.
“As a veteran, it was important not only to go somewhere I was welcomed but also somewhere that was affordable,” says Coleman.
Marching into the Future
In her current role as program coordinator for national nonprofit Rebuilding Together, Coleman puts to good use her years of military experience and the firm footing of her time at Rollins.
She’s also in the process of starting her own nonprofit organization for homeless veterans in the Central Florida area, embodying the Rollins ethos of responsible leadership and carrying on the Army’s core values of loyalty and service.
“I’m also a mother of two, so I try to continue learning as much as possible,” says Coleman. “It’s very important to me to teach my children about the world around us and the impact we have. My son has autism spectrum disorder and is also nonverbal, but that doesn’t stop me from using American Sign Language to teach him things.”
Now Coleman’s experiences in the Army and at Rollins will carry on to benefit the next generation and beyond. Her story is just one of hundreds of veterans whose meaningful lives and productive careers are a product of the personalized support, program flexibility, and close mentorship they received at the No. 1 regional university in the South.
Take the Next Step
Rollins’ Professional Advancement programs will award credit for applicable courses you have completed in the military, shortening your time to a degree. Plus our dedicated veteran’s service officer will help you understand how to use your financial benefits and get you on the path to graduation.
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