In a new home, Veteran and Military Affairs offers services and community

first_imgMatt Camacho, Navy veteran and electrical engineering graduate studentMatt Camacho served in the Navy from 2008 to 2014 as a nuclear electronics technician responsible for the operation and maintenance of nuclear reactors.He is in the concurrent BS/MS program working on his electrical engineering degree, specializing in radio frequency (RF) and microwaves, and electromagnetics. When Matt Camacho first came to CU Boulder, he intended only to earn his undergraduate degree.“Once I found out about the BS/MS program and knew that the GI Bill would cover the extra year it would take to get my master’s, it was an easy decision to continue on,” he said. “Plus, CU’s RF department is one of the best in the country. The VMA office was very knowledgeable on the process that needed to happen for me to get my GI Bill benefits started so I could get paid as soon as possible to avoid any financial hardship.”VMA sponsors the Student Veterans Association meetings on campus where about 60 to 80 veterans—graduates and undergraduates—attend each month.“The biggest thing for veteran students leaving the military,” said Stewart Elliott, director of VMA, “is that loss of a sense of community. When they come here, they get that community back and can get started on their transition into higher education. “Last year it won the Student Group of the Year award for most participation,” he said. “The previous president of the student group was a Leeds MBA student.”VMA processed about $26 million of federal money through the GI Bill last year, according to CU’s Institutional Research office. About half of that amount was in tuition and fees. This semester, 1,286 veterans, military members and veteran dependents attend CU Boulder. A little more than 300 of those students are military dependents. Left to right: Chancellor Phil DiStefano, VMA Director Stewart Elliott, CU Regent and board chair emeritus Steve Bosley and CU Regent Linda Shoemaker at the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Veteran and Military Affairs office. For prospective or current graduate students who are veterans, military members or veteran dependents, CU Boulder’s Veteran and Military Affairs (VMA) is their single source for all programs, policies, pay, information and support. VMA focuses on the administration and management of VA financial benefits, and coordinates and supports educational opportunities for military-affiliated communities. The office provides the point of contact for counseling and program information for the veteran and military community on campus, and develops and maintains productive relationships with the off-campus organizations and programs that serve veterans.VMA processes veterans’ educational benefits, offering eligible students assistance in receiving VA educational funding. Veteran and Military Affairs Director Stewart Elliott“I’m working with institutional analysis to get the number of veterans on campus who are not using the GI Bill to develop a survey to see if we can do some outreach to those folks,” he said. “Sometimes they’ll save their benefit to use for grad school. Because CU is a public institution, the VA pays 100 percent of tuition. Since grad school is more expensive, some of them will wait to use it.”Since 2013, the VMA office has grown from three employees to eight staff members and 11 student workers. Five years ago, the office was in a 684-square-foot space in the Center for Community. Today, it’s in a 3,000-square foot space, including a lounge, in the new Center for Academic Success and Engagement (CASE) building. The CU Boulder VMA strategy is in step with the “Principles of Excellence” designed to facilitate veteran success in higher education and promoted in a July 2013 document produced by the U.S. departments of Education, Veterans Affairs, Defense, and Labor. “I think thatthe veterans I work with as a part of the CU Boulder community bring a lot of value with their life experience and diversity,” Elliott said. “They’re leaders in the classroom and they get involved, serving on CU Boulder Student Government, United Government of Graduate Students and the Rec Center board.”Veteran and Military Affairs is located in Room W322 in the CASE building. For more information, go to the VMA website. Published: Nov. 9, 2018 • By Kenna Bruner Share Share via TwitterShare via FacebookShare via LinkedInShare via E-mail Categories:Getting InvolvedCampus Communitylast_img read more