The Collier family with Dr. Anne Skleder at winter graduation 2021

Serving those who serve: Veterans, military family members get gold status treatment as Brenau students

Students can face extraordinary challenges that affect themselves and their families while pursuing higher education. For many, those challenges are due to military service or veteran status. The Postsecondary National Policy Institute reports active duty military students say they struggle with maintaining scholarships and in-state tuition due to deployments and frequent moves. 

While on active duty in the Air Force, Brenau alumnus and retired Master Sgt. Brian M. Schliefer, BU ’17, also earned his MBA in project management. He says Brenau’s affordable military tuition and class flexibility helped him pursue his dream.

“I was able to use my tuition assistance and very little came out of pocket, while obtaining a high level of education and collaborating with amazing peers from different industries,” Schliefer says. “The flexibility of having the class work online allowed me to continue my coursework as I traveled for my official duties.”

Schliefer says Brenau’s regional accreditation helped him later pursue a doctoral degree in technology at Purdue University.

U.S. Coast Guard boatswain’s mate Myles Dietrich is completing his MBA at Brenau. (Submitted photo)

Myles Dietrich, a Coast Guard boatswain’s mate who is completing his MBA, says Brenau has supported him throughout his education.

“Brenau has opened doors for me that I couldn’t even imagine,” Dietrich says. “I have little extra time because of being in the military, but I feel Brenau has supported me every step of the way toward higher education. 

“They keep their tuition low to accommodate military members, offer student support services to veterans, and all my professors have been excited to have military members in their courses. It makes me feel like my service and education is well worth what I put into it.”

Army Cpl. Ennun Walker, BU ’22, says Brenau offered him the affordability and flexibility to complete his MBA in general business in May.

“They also have various resources that are available to veterans, as well as organizations catered to assisting us military students,” Walker says. “Not to mention they are very aware of the fact that we can be called to duty at any time and are very understanding.”


Beverly Lowery, BU ’14, says she is grateful for the understanding Brenau faculty showed her as the spouse of a veteran. She enrolled at Brenau for her bachelor’s degree in middle grades education after her husband of 32 years retired from the National Guard and the Army and took a contract job in Afghanistan.

“The staff at Brenau, especially Dr. Billi Bromer and Dr. Charlene Wilkerson, both of whom I love dearly and still keep in touch with, were amazing,” Lowery says. “They provided moral support, academic support, and a shoulder to cry on when times were difficult or when I was worried about my spouse’s well-being. I can’t say enough about how much I needed Brenau during that time.”

Brenau President Anne Skleder, left, greets Beverly Lowery, BU ’14, during an alumni event. Lowery, the wife of a veteran, earned her bachelor’s in middle grades education from Brenau. (AJ Reynolds/Brenau University)

Lowery’s positive experience led her to Brenau’s online program, where she is working to earn her master’s degree in education at 55 years old. And as her husband’s disability was increased to 100%, Lowery says Brenau’s  Financial Aid office helped her understand her new qualification for military assistance.

 “The Financial Aid Office was great at answering all of my questions and providing guidance throughout the entire process,” she said. “I was able to get everything submitted and I was approved for the VA spousal benefits.”

Rosanne Short, Director of Military and Veteran Services, says Brenau’s higher level of assistance and care for military students has consistently earned the university recognition as a Military Friendly School, including gold status for 2022-23. Brenau met and exceeded the Military Friendly standard for academic policies and compliance, admissions and orientation, culture and commitment, financial aid and assistance, graduation and career readiness and military student support and retention.

Brenau celebrates its military service members beyond the classroom. During commencement ceremonies in December 2021, the family of Tiffany Collier, BU ’21, accepted her nursing diploma on her behalf as she was activated to New York days before the ceremony. Collier, an Air Force medic, commuted back and forth from Brenau to New York as she earned her degree, all while being a wife and mother. 

Collier served on three special missions while in school and encouraged other military students to keep going.

“Remind yourself constantly of why you’re doing what you do and understand that sometimes you have to go through something to get to something,” she says.

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