Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The University of Iowa wants to do more than help military veterans enroll in college; it wants to make sure they succeed once they’re here by providing financial, academic, and even moral support.

For example, Iowa and Texas are the first two states being used as test beds for a pilot Hero to Hired program that connects veterans with employers eager to hire them, using a website and mobile app. The UI is helping direct veterans to the service, which will add four additional states in 2013, and is working to get listed on the H2H website as an institution seeking veteran job applicants.

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Here are additional ways the UI is working to increase the odds that veterans will have a positive experience on campus and leave the university with a diploma in hand.

  • Veterans based in Iowa, at U.S. Army Rock Island Arsenal, or at Offutt Air Base near Omaha are charged only in-state tuition for their undergraduate degrees. (The other Iowa regents universities also offer the tuition break.) Veterans also have access to many of the same grants, loans, scholarships, and financial aid afforded the general student population, as well as the GI Bill. Because Iowa’s in-state tuition is the second lowest in the Big Ten, this helps minimize veterans’ debt load as they embark on new careers.
  • The UI is a federal Yellow Ribbon School, which means veterans pursuing graduate degrees and paying out-of-state tuition can qualify for in-state tuition rates, with the VA and the UI covering the cost difference.
  • The VA funds one veteran student employee for every 100 veterans enrolled on campus, offering another small way for veterans to earn money while attending school.
  • Through the ROTC, veterans can apply up to six credit hours from certain military training toward their degrees as electives, saving the cost of tuition.
  • To help prepare veterans for college life, the UI provides a class just for them called “Life After War: Post-Deployment Issues.” This three-credit College of Education course helps them examine their military experiences while honing study skills, like managing test anxiety.
  • The UI Veterans Center, based out of the Office of the Registrar, provides veterans with a place to study, use a computer, print copies for free, get tutoring, or just hang out with other veterans.
  • Through the federal Wounded Warrior Project, veterans who qualify under the Vocational Rehabilitation & Education (Chapter 33) Program can receive tutoring—paid for by the VA—as well as access to assistive technologies, like speech-activated computer software or computers that can enlarge or real aloud screen content.
  • Students in the UI College of Education’s rehabilitation counseling graduate program may qualify for internships at the VA Hospital in Iowa City. In 2011, three students in the program also provided counseling to fellow vets through the UI Veterans Center.

More information about veterans services and opportunities is available at veterans.uiowa.edu.