With the start of classes this fall, Ashland University has created a dedicated office for veteran services in order to better accommodate the growing number of veterans on campus.
Last year there were 80 Ashland University students receiving benefits from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, while this fall semester, the number has risen to almost 100 students. This number does not include the 25 veterans enrolled at Ashland Theological Seminary.
Ashland University assembled a Veterans Task Force this past summer that discussed how to improve efforts to attract, to serve and to retain veterans. The Task Force was chaired by Dr. Scott Van Loo, vice president for enrollment management and marketing.
“This group developed findings and recommendations that included the need to create a dedicated office for veteran services and develop a student organization for veterans on campus,” Van Loo said. “Also, the task force identified the need to develop and market degree programs tailored to adult and non-traditional learners.
“Veterans are looking for institutions that give credit for ‘life experiences’ as well as those with staff designated to help them through the paperwork required for filing each semester in order to receive financial benefits,” he added.
In previous years, Associate Registrar Vicki Yoho was the main person serving veterans in the performance of her role as VA certifying official. In August, in an effort to bolster veteran services, Dr. John Sikula was appointed director of adult studies and veteran services.
Sikula noted that “implementing the Task Force recommendations will be a primary focus of his work.”
The veteran services office resides in the Founders School of Continuing Education, which is headed by Dr. Dwight McElfresh, dean of the Founders School. “The creation of the veteran services office will go a long way in helping Ashland University better meet the needs of our veterans in the region,” McElfresh said.
Those wanting more information about the veteran services at Ashland University can contact Sikula at 419-289-5751.
Ashland University, ranked in the top 200 colleges and universities in U.S. News and World Report’s National Universities category for 2012, is a mid-sized, private university conveniently located a short distance from Akron, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. Ashland University (www.ashland.edu) values the individual student and offers a unique educational experience that combines the challenge of strong, applied academic programs with a faculty and staff who build nurturing relationships with their students.