|WCSI Local News|
Indiana University-Purdue University Columbus (IUPUC) and Ivy Tech Community College-Columbus/Franklin are included in the 2014 list of Military Friendly Schools, according to an independent survey by Ernst & Young LLP.
According to school officials, the annual Military Friendly Schools list honors the top 20 percent of U.S. universities, colleges, and trade schools that actively embrace American military service members, veterans, and spouses as students.
Now in its fifth year, the Military Friendly Schools list is compiled annually by Victory Media, a media group for military personnel transitioning into civilian life.
It was generated through extensive research and a data-driven survey of more than 10,000 schools nationwide that are approved for VA tuition funding. Each year, schools completing the survey are held to a higher standard than the previous year via improved methodology, criteria, and weightings developed with assistance of an advisory board comprised of educators from across the U.S.
Both IUPUC and Ivy Tech will be listed in Victory Media's annual "Guide to Military Friendly Schools," which is distributed to hundreds of thousands of active and former military personnel in early October.
Number of IUPUC students served is growing
According to Cynthia Scott, the university's VA certifying officer and retired master sergeant, IUPUC serves a growing number of active-duty military personnel, veterans, and spouses and children of veterans who are certified for education benefits through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
In total, there are 112 veterans and military dependents taking classes at IUPUC this fall. Of that number, 56 are receiving VA education benefits. The number of IUPUC students certified for benefits has risen steadily in recent years:
• Fall 2008: 17
• Fall 2009: 31
• Fall 2010: 52
• Fall 2011: 50
• Fall 2012: 54
• Fall 2013: 56
Last year, Scott and colleagues developed a free booklet titled "Getting Started: A Guide to Educational Benefits for Veterans and their Family Members" to answer some of the most frequently asked questions by veterans and military members who are exploring their educational benefits.
"We routinely provide these students with information about local and regional job fairs, health fairs, grant opportunities, and other resources," she added.
This is the second year IUPUC has been included on the annual Military Friendly Schools list.
Ivy Tech is named to the list for third consecutive year
According to Nina Loesch, assistant director of financial aid and VA certifying official for Ivy Tech, the college offers its student veterans a discounted tuition rate.
"We try to make special accommodations regarding payment arrangements," Loesch noted. "For example, we assure that veterans do not get dropped from classes as a result of a late payment by the VA. In addition, we contact our student veterans on a regular basis to ensure they are doing well and to determine if they need additional assistance or services."
According to Loesch, Pat Vercauteren is the college's veterans coordinator whose sole focus is assisting veterans with any questions they have, most of which relate to financial aid.
"Pat has established excellent relationships with many of our veterans and advises them regarding the most effective ways to stay on track toward graduation," she said, adding Vercauteren's office is located in a student commons area where he is visible and easily accessible.
The financial aid office has also developed a "process" booklet containing helpful information prepared specifically for student veterans, Loesch reported.
This is the third year Ivy Tech-Columbus/Franklin has been included on the Military Friendly Schools the list.
Educational assistance for veterans is available
Whether they choose IUPUC, Ivy Tech, or another educational institution, many veterans, active-duty personnel, and their family members are eligible for educational benefits under the Post 9/11 G.I. Bill or the Montgomery G.I. Bill administered by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
Last Updated: Wednesday, September 25, 2013 7:20:49 AM
WCSI Radio • Mailing Address: P.O. 1789 Columbus, IN 47202 • Studio: 3212 Washington Street
• Columbus, IN 47203