Western Sydney University launches inaugural veteran support program

Western Sydney University is proud to launch an innovative new program to support armed forces veterans wanting to pursue higher education.

The ‘Student Veterans Program’ will connect current and previously serving Australian Defence Force and Reservist personnel with a range of dedicated support services and initiatives during their studies at the University.

Professor James Arvanitakis, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Engagement and Advancement), said the integrated program affirms Western Sydney University’s commitment to helping veteran students and those considering future study succeed at University.

“The program will provide tailored support through access to a range of enriching programs, including wellbeing and social services, for students who are serving or who have served with the Australian Defence Force,” said Professor Arvanitakis.

“The University is pleased to support veterans in their capacity to study and serve our country, and to support former personnel who are retraining and commencing new careers.”

Acknowledging the skill sets developed during their experiences, student veterans may be eligible for five bonus points for entry into Western Sydney University. This continues the University’s leadership in recognising the prior learning and attributes of potential students.

Through the unique program, students will be connected with a Student Veteran Support Officer for one-on-one support. They will also have access to priority timetabling, special consideration, subsidised health clinic services, free welfare services, counselling services and the University’s LEAD and MATES mentor programs. They can also connect and network with other veterans through a dedicated student club, the ‘Western Student Veterans Club’.

To enrich the program, Western Sydney University has partnered with Soldier On — a leading not-for-profit organisation that supports current and ex-serving Australian Defence Force members, as well as their families — to collaborate on educational and support opportunities.

Soldier On’s Pathways Program collaborates with Education Partners like Western Sydney University to create new opportunities for veterans and their families, enabling them to thrive.

Solider On CEO, Ivan Slavich, said the organisation is honoured to welcome Western Sydney University to its Pathways Program.

“Through the launch of its veteran support program, Western Sydney University is taking active steps to provide veterans with greater educational opportunities,” said Mr Slavich.

“We look forward to working with Western Sydney University to provide more opportunities for veterans to upskill or retrain and secure meaningful employment after their service.”

Western Sydney University Student Veteran Support Officer Keesha von Stieglitz has served in the Royal Australian Air Force and is currently studying medicine at the University.

Ms von Stieglitz, who has been instrumental in establishing the program, said this robust approach will aid student veterans in their transition to tertiary study and support them throughout their degrees.

“Defence force personnel make a range of sacrifices for the country; therefore, it is important to ensure we are offering support to servicemen and women in any capacity that we can,” said Ms von Stieglitz.

“From those no longer serving to members serving full-time or in a reserve capacity, having a program that allows veterans to adapt their studies to align with their service requirements is crucial in fostering a positive study environment.”

“It excites me to know that veterans will be supported in their studies at Western Sydney University and afforded the best possible environment to manage service life or post-service requirements while still advancing in their education.”

For more information, visit the Student Veterans web page (opens in a new window).


17 May 2021

Ali Sardyga, Media Officer

Photo credit: Sally Tsoutas