Veteran Counselor Connects Students with Benefits – at Home and Abroad
As a Veterans Affairs (VA) counselor at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s Worldwide Campus, it is Alicia Schramm’s mission to help ease veterans’ and active military students’ transition into education.
“We help students understand their educational benefits, explain down payments or requirements on their part, and then make sure the government and VA Education Department covers student tuition,” she said.
Schramm’s husband, U.S. Marine Brandon Schramm, was one of the first students to benefit from her work. Thirteen years into his service career, the former Parris Island drill instructor began taking courses through the Worldwide Campus. A Marine Corps program allowed him to remain on active enlisted status and commission as an officer after earning a degree in Daytona Beach. However, the GI Bill does not entirely cover tuition. As a member of the university’s staff, Alicia’s husband could take advantage of employee waivers and discounts that make a degree more affordable.
Schramm’s teammates also act as student advocates.
“We fight for our students,” she said, adding that she enjoys giving back to those who have sacrificed for their country — a commitment she understands well, having grown up a military brat.
After her father retired from active duty, her family settled in Georgia, where she met her future husband on the first day of fourth grade. He was seated in front of her and turned around to tell her: “You know what? I’m going to marry you someday.”
She thought he was crazy. She also could not have predicted how her career would one day reflect the influences of both of her parents. Her father had a 20-year career in the United States Navy. Her mother was a teacher.
“Now I feel I have a duty to help active military and veterans achieve their educational goals,” she said.
Brandon graduated in December 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in Aeronautics and a minor in Safety. He recently received his flight contract with the Marine Corps. At the end of 2021, he will relocate to Quantico, and then to Pensacola, where he will complete flight school. He hopes to finish his military career as a pilot.
Alicia is a Worldwide student herself, working on her master’s degree in Leadership. She will continue her position, working remotely, even after the family moves next year. Alicia and Brandon have two sons, 12 and 6.