A national initiative to streamline the veterans compliance reporting process is underway. The reporting and certification requirements can be complex and can require significant work on behalf of veterans and schools; as such a number of registrars and other stakeholders have begun to discuss ways in which the certification and recertification process could be done more efficiently and cost-effectively.
“Higher education and the V.A. both want to better serve student veterans,” said V. Shelby Stanfield, Vice Provost and University Registrar, University of Texas at Austin. Stanfield has been one of the folks spearheading the conversation between institutions and with the V.A. about ideas to improve and streamline compliance reporting.
A year’s progress: Institutions, V.A. and NSC
The movement began about a year ago at the AACRAO Annual Meeting in Baltimore, where Stanfield and others held an impromptu discussion on the challenges of certification reporting. It has since evolved into a conversation with National Student Clearinghouse (NSC) about how to develop a technology platform to facilitate and automate the data collection and reporting processes surrounding certification.
“Given than many institutions are already participants with NSC, it makes sense to build a conduit for institutions to report veterans’ biological, course, credit and completion data, as well,” Stanfield said. “It’s another avenue to extend Clearinghouse services.”
Over the past year, NSC has worked with the group to put together a conceptual framework defining how the platform could be built and what its benefits could be. They’ve broken the initiative into three components—technical, biological and completion data—and are in the initial stages of conversations about the completion data used for certification and recertification.
“One goal of a reengineered technology platform available to institutions is quicker delivery of veteran data to the V.A. and improved pathways for student veterans and better data for public policy analysis of completion rates,” Stanfield said. “We also believe such a system benefits the VA in terms of timeliness, integrity, accuracy and comprehensiveness of benefits reported.”
Stanfield and other expert school administration and student veteran panelists will discuss the proposed solution and progress to date, including meetings with the V.A., at the upcoming AACRAO Annual Meeting, March 20-23, in Phoenix.
“We’ll update folks on where we are and what’s left to do—and let people know how they can get involved,” Stanfield said. “We want to demonstrate to the V.B.A. that there’s significant community support and enthusiasm for the idea, and how easy the process will be to adopt once the platform is built.”
In addition to Stanfield, other leaders of this exciting session include: Marc Barker, National Association of Veteran Program Administrators and Colorado State University; Chris Cate, Student Veterans Association; Doug Falk, National Student Clearinghouse; Scott Owczarek, University of Wisconsin Madison; Brenda Selman, University of Missouri, and Rick Torres, National Student Clearinghouse [moderator].
For more information, register for the AACRAO Annual Meeting and join the conversation. Or contact Shelby Stanfield to join the listserv.
Also, check out the Veterans Compliance article in AACRAO's publication Helping Veterans Succeed.