8-27-2013

Contact: Amy Murray, 614-292-8385

Ohio State University Expands Veterans Assistance Programs

New VetSuccess On Campus counselor offers guidance and support with veteran benefits

The Ohio State University is partnering with the Veterans Administration (VA) to bring additional services to the 2,200 military and veteran students and their family members enrolled at Ohio State. The number of such students continues to increase on campuses across the country, reflecting a national trend in college attendance through the Post-9/11 GI Bill.

The VA’s VetSuccess on Campus (VSOC) program is designed to coordinate the delivery of benefits and services to veteran and military students.

Through the VSOC program, Ohio State’s Office of Military and Veterans Services has a new fulltime VA liaison, Denise Bays-Napier, who will support the growing population of veteran and military students on campus.

Mike Carrell, assistant provost and director of the Office of Military and Veterans Services, says the addition of Bays-Napier strengthens the numerous services available to veteran students.

“As a veteran, she has used the two most popular programs that many of our students use – the GI Bill and Chapter 31, Vocational Rehabilitation benefits to attain her degree,” said Carrell. “She brings not only the expertise, she’s gone through what most of our students have experienced and that makes her an important role model. Students can see in her someone who has done what they are doing and has succeeded. And as a VA employee, she knows her way around the organization.”

As Ohio State's new VSOC counselor, and liaison for any VA issues that may arise, Bays-Napier will provide services for veteran, active duty and dependent students that include:

* Guidance and support with education benefits
* Career exploration and assistance with selecting a suitable career/major
* Electing health care benefits with Veterans Health Administration
* Assistance in understanding readjustment difficulties and how they affect school
* Coordinating with school faculty/staff to provide veteran specific services (i.e. certifying school official, Career Center, Student Disabilities Services and Academic Advising)
* Accessing, understanding and applying for other VA benefits (i.e. disability compensation, life insurance, education, home loan guaranty, vocational rehabilitation)
* Referral for readjustment counseling services for eligible veterans and their families
* Job placement assistance and coordination with local veterans' employment representatives and the Disabled Veterans' Outreach Program.

Bays-Napier is a retired U.S. Army sergeant first class, after serving 21 years on active duty.

Carrell emphasizes that the overall goal of the office is to help military and veteran students graduate, and to earn their trust along the way.

Other Ohio State resources for those students include a Veterans House (a housing option for students who are veterans, active-duty, reserves and National Guard) and a veterans student organization.

In addition to assisting students with educational and academic resources, the office also provides military and veteran orientations, focused academic counseling, tailored support services and the education of faculty and staff on military student issues.

The office also partners with external agencies and resources such as the Chalmers P. Wylie VA Ambulatory Care Center and county Veterans Services offices to ease the transition from military member to civilian and college student.

Ohio State’s military and veterans programs continue to earn national recognition. Ohio State is one of the initial 50 universities nationwide to sign the “Got Your 6” pledge in cooperation with the Tillman Foundation, the National Student Veterans of America (Ohio State’s chapter is “Vets4Vets”) and Operation College Promise.

“With this pledge, the university articulated its dedication to enhancing resources, programs and policies to support our student veteran populations,” said Carrell. Similarly, Ohio State has been named by G.I. Jobs magazine as one of the nation’s top “Military Friendly Schools” for three consecutive years, and that designation is expected again this year.