Veterans and Military Members

As an inclusive, diverse and welcoming community, Bowdoin College recognizes the important perspective veterans and active military members can bring to its campus. The following policies are in place to ensure current and former members are at home during the process and while at Bowdoin. Also, read more about Bowdoin's veteran and active service member benefits.

Bowdoin seeks students who are bright, engaged in life inside and outside the classroom, and who demonstrate a willingness to take intellectual risks and as such has a community of diverse backgrounds, beliefs, and experiences. Bowdoin students thrive within such diversity, and we welcome the perspectives and experiences that our veteran students will add to our campus. As Marine Corps veteran and Bowdoin graduate Gil Barndollar says, “Since its founding, Bowdoin has urged its students to ‘exert their talents for the public good.’ I believe the reverse is also true: those who have already served their country, especially in uniform, will benefit most from the community of open inquiry, intellectual rigor, and constructive debate that Bowdoin provides.” We are committed to supporting you through the application process and as a student here as you find your own voice, path, and definition of success in the world around you throughout your years on campus and beyond.

Veterans find their way to Bowdoin through a number of different paths, including our partnership with Service to School and VetLink. “The Service to School VetLink program will significantly strengthen our ability at Bowdoin to serve the educational needs of veterans, to introduce them to a liberal arts education long dedicated to serving the common good, and to benefit from their knowledge, perspective, and experience,” said Dean of Admissions and Student Aid Whitney Soule. “In a small way, this is also a partnership that honors the legacy of Bowdoin graduates who have served and led in the military from the War of 1812 through today. We are proud and excited to participate.”

Learn more about applying to Bowdoin and other frequently asked questions.

Transfer Credit Policies: 

  • Transfer Credit from Other Institutions and/or Military Courses: Normal rules for transfer credit apply. In addition, students entering Bowdoin from military service who have some college experience may seek to transfer credit from two-year institutions. They may also seek to transfer credit from military courses that are comparable to the liberal arts. Up to the equivalent of four Bowdoin credits can be transferred through these two methods. As with all transfer credit, the courses would need to be reviewed by the appropriate departments at Bowdoin for approval.
  • If a student is activated while attending Bowdoin:
    • If the student, the student’s dean, and advisor determine that the student would benefit from taking course(s) while deployed, the student may do so for Bowdoin credit. The student may receive up to two credits. These are subject to Bowdoin’s standard transfer credit policies and procedures.
    • If the student is deployed mid-semester, the student, their dean and their advisor will determine the best course of action from the following:
      • If the dean and faculty agree, the student can request Incompletes, and the group can create a plan for submitting work late;
      • The student can withdraw from the courses. These will be recorded as a WM on the transcript, indicating that the student withdrew for military service.
  • All students receiving a Bowdoin degree must earn at least 16 general credits at Bowdoin; students who are service members and/veterans are still subject to this rule.
  • If a student is away on short-term, planned training duty, faculty are asked to accommodate that student’s need for alternative deadlines and flexibility with assignments. Students need to let faculty know of their schedules well in advance.
  • It is the student’s responsibility to acquire their training schedules early, and to keep up to date with class work.

Student Aid and Financial Policies:

  • For the purposes of aid, current and former military service members will be considered independent students for the purposes of aid, using the federal definitions of independent students. This will remove the request for parent information during the application process.
  • Bowdoin will assist students in maximizing their eligibility for aid in the following ways:
    • We will not include parent information for students who are independent by federal definition.
    • We will expect students to use their BAH (Basic Allowance for Housing) to cover only the housing component of their cost of attendance. The remainder of this monthly stipend may be used to help with costs not covered by aid including the student contribution.
    • We will use the standard student contribution including a review of assets rather than one calculated based on income earned previously. If the student is married, the spouse’s income will be included in the review with due consideration for changes in employment because of relocation to Brunswick.
    • In certain cases, we may adjust the work component of the aid package in order to assist the student in using the veteran’s benefits available and/or utilizing outside scholarships.
  • Bowdoin is committed to ensuring that students who are activated during a semester do not incur additional charges due to the refund process. This statement has been added to the handbook:
    • In the case of a student who must withdraw because of activation for military service, the College will work to identify solutions that will not result in additional student debt for the required return of funds providing the student’s bill was paid in full prior to the withdrawal.
  • Bowdoin is not able to provide student aid for non-academic months.  The College awards all student aid, including federal loans, based on and for the months of enrollment.
  • Bowdoin does not require a veteran to use their available benefits (e.g, their post 9/11 GI Bill).

Student Affairs Policies:

Community is central to life at Bowdoin and the division of student affairs works to ensure that the student experience beyond the classroom offers engagement and connection. To that end, there are a number of ways in which we aim to support student veterans in their transition and place at Bowdoin.

  • Housing: We are committed to providing student veterans with housing that works best for them. Thus, personal circumstances are taken into consideration in assisting student veterans in housing arrangements. A variety of on-campus housing options are available, and off-campus housing, in the form of local rentals in the surrounding community, may also be considered in certain circumstances.
  • New student orientation: Student veterans may be excused from first-year orientation on a case-by-case basis. However, because orientation aims at introducing new students to resources, expectations, and connections to peers, staff, and faculty, we will encourage all student veterans to participate in any orientation activities, including trips, that are of interest.
  • Advising: As with all students at Bowdoin, student veteran advising will begin with orientation and the assignment of an academic advisor. As students engage in the process of selecting a major and earning a degree, Bowdoin faculty are there to help, to advise, and to support them in their educational goals. Faculty help students shape their majors to their interests, explore ideas for independent study or an honors project, and begin bridging to post-college plans.

If you have any questions, please contact Ryan Ricciardi at rricciar@bowdoin.edu.