Military and Veteran Student Services will soon be relocating to the Registrar’s office based on feedback from a student task force. The new space aims to provide more opportunities for students affiliated with the military.
The University of Iowa’s Office of Military and Veteran Student Services returns to its original jurisdiction under the direction of the Registrar’s Office and will soon be physically moving to its new space in what was previously the Financial Aid Office. .
The department previously reported to the registrar’s office, said Larry Lockwood, the university’s deputy president and registrar, but has since moved to the diversity, equity and inclusion division. This return to the registrar’s office, he said, is one way to better serve UI veterans and military-affiliated students.
“Veterans [are] a class and a culture in itself, ”he said. “They all had the same experience, so they needed their own space. It seemed best to bring them back to the registrar’s office where we can get the most out of them and work with them to make sure we retain our students.
The move will also allow Military and Veteran Student Services to work more closely with Veteran Education Transition Services, said Matthew Miller, director of the Military and Veteran Student Services program.
“This transformation and this move allow us to combine support for students and the advantages, that is to say [Iowa Veteran, Education, Transition, and Support], which has always been under the aegis of the registrar’s office, ”he said. “Our students work closely with both parties and the offices work closely. It was the natural progression to help give students mutual support that will help them [UI] more long-term students.
Miller said the move to the registrar’s office was the result of a recommendation from a student task force, which was determined to create a better space for veterans. One student fighting for more opportunities for veterans was Paul Richards, president of the Unemployment Insurance Veterans Association.
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The student task force aims to help the university better understand what it can do to help students affiliated with the military, Richards said.
“We were able to produce a document that looked at the move and other options that would further benefit students on our campus,” he said. “The working group was a means of ensuring a cycle of improvement in the service of the students of the [UI]. “
Richards said the move will begin to better accommodate students who use military and veteran student services. The latter are a growing group of students who need more space to accommodate them, he added.
“The new space should be much bigger and better equipped to serve our 2,400 military-affiliated and connected students,” he said. “Our current space faces a lot of space issues, especially around the midterm and final weeks, as different students study in different ways. “
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The physical office move won’t happen until summer or fall 2020, Lockwood said, but he’s excited to start helping students in a space that will better meet their academic needs.
Lockwood said the change to being led by the registrar’s office will allow the office to meet its goals and increase the graduation rate of veterans on the UI campus.
Four-year graduation rates for the 2015 cohort are 54.5% – just below the average UI rate of 55.1%, according to data reported in the January update on the provost’s diversity, equity and inclusion. This is up from the four-year graduation rate for the 2011 cohort of 42.9%.
With new leadership and better space, Lockwood said he knew it could be done.
“We want to make sure the student is able to stay in school,” Lockwood said. “We want to do everything possible to keep them [at the UI]. Usually we have a high drop-out rate in the first semester when the veterans are on campus. We want to help them reintegrate into society and increase the graduation rate and bring it down to 80% before. “