Annual Meeting Insights: Serving those who serve

Serving Those Who Serve: Making an Institution More Veteran Friendly

Since 1991, The Ohio State University had one staff member that processed all veteran benefits for the university, causing major benefit delays. In 2009, OSU undertook the task of improving their veteran services to address the increasing number of students using veteran benefits.
OSU created a centralized Office of Military & Veteran Services located in the Student Academic Services building. The new office increased its staff size, created a website for veteran and military students, and served as a one-stop shop for veteran support services. Formal responsibilities included processing of benefits, transition to civilian and college life, and academic success.

Outside of the new office, OSU developed additional programs and practices to ensure a veteran-friendly campus. OSU created “positive service indicators” in the records system to prevent account holds for students that had veteran benefits delayed at no fault of the student. OSU created military and veteran-student orientations and more veterans-only courses to help the transition to civilian and college life. OSU also gave veteran students priority scheduling and free proficiency exams that can be taken for college credit.

Web-based Veteran's Administration: GI Benefit Application for Certification

The University of Arizona has established an online application to ease the process for students enrolled using GI Bill benefits to apply for certification. Elizabeth Acree, university registrar, and Cori Cashen, assistant registrar and manager of veterans’ services, provided an overview of the development and implementation of the online system, which simplifies the certification process for both students and staff.

As an increasing number of students enrolled at UA using their GI Bill benefits, the staff realized that they needed a more efficient and accurate certification process for their student veterans. Over next five years, 1.4 million servicepersons are expected to be downsized out of the U.S. Military, and many of these veterans will take advantage of the Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits.

The new online system offers step-by-step guidance as students apply for certification from any location in the world. The information submitted by the student is then securely transferred to the U.S. Department of Veterans’ Affairs’ UAccess Student, where a certifying official completes the process. 

Since its implementation, UA’s web-based application process has saved time for both staff and students, saved paper, and improved the overall quality and efficiency of the certification process.

By: AACRAO Connect