Military Implementation Update Report

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1 Military Implementation Update Report March 16, 2015 The veterans and service members attending our colleges and universities are of the utmost importance to Ohio. As a way to ensure that our veterans and service members are being treated on an equal playing field across all of Ohio s public institutions of higher education, the Ohio Legislature passed a bill with requirements for serving and engaging the military community on campuses. The following sections of the Ohio Revised Code (ORC) reflect the requirements that had to be met by December 31, 2014: 1. Designate at least one person employed by the institution to serve as the contact person for veterans and service member affairs (other than a person currently designated by the institution as a veterans administration certifying official). Such a person shall assist and advise veterans and service members on issues related to earning college credit for military training, experience, and coursework. ORC (A) The board of trustees at each public institution has complied with this requirement. 2. Adopt a policy regarding the support and assistance the institution will provide to veterans and service members. ORC (B) The board of trustees at each public institution has complied with this requirement. See attachment A for the template provided to the institutions. 3. Allow for the establishment of a student-led group on campus for student service members and veterans, and encourage other service member- and veteran-friendly organizations. ORC (C) The board of trustees at each public institution has complied with this requirement. 4. Integrate existing career services to create and encourage meaningful collaborative relationships between student service members and veterans and alumni of the institution that link student service members and veterans with prospective employers, and that provide student service members and veterans with social opportunities. And, if the institution has career services programs, encourage the responsible office to seek and promote partnership opportunities for internships and employment of student service members and veterans with state, local, national, and international employers. ORC (D) The board of trustees at each public institution has complied with this requirement.

2 5. Survey student service members and veterans to identify their needs and challenges, and make the survey available to faculty and staff at the state institution of higher education. Periodically conduct follow-up surveys, at a frequency determined by the board, to gauge the institution s progress toward meeting identified needs and challenges. ORC (E) Thirty-one of the 36 boards of trustees at the public institutions have complied with this requirement. Central Ohio Technical College, Clark State Community College, Edison Community College, Rio Grande Community College, and Wright State University all have plans to conduct this survey by the end of spring semester Each institution on this list has developed an implementation plan and has been working to ensure it has identified the proper population of students to survey. This requirement led multiple institutions to review their veteran and service member identification and tracking procedures, which will also help to ensure that institutions are meeting and identifying needs and challenges across the University System of Ohio. 6. Establish an appeals procedure for students who are veterans or service members for resolving disputes regarding the awarding of college credit for military experience. ORC The board of trustees at each public institution has complied with this requirement. 7. Provide a student who is either a veteran or a service member with priority for course registration. ORC All public institutions have complied with this requirement. 8. Shall NOT charge a student who is a veteran or a service member any fee for the evaluation of, transcription of, or application for college credit for military experience. ORC All public institutions have complied with this requirement. The Ohio General Assembly also included requirements for the Chancellor of the Ohio Board of Regents (OBR) with regard to the awarding of college credit for military training, experience, and coursework that had to be met by December 31, In order for state institutions to have better alignment in granting credit, OBR created a directive with a baseline set of standards and procedures (see attachment B for a copy of the directive). Along with this directive, OBR has already created three military articulation and transfer assurance guides (MTAGs) for college credit earned through military training, experience, and coursework (for additional information on this initiative, please visit transfercredit.ohio.gov/ap/35).this ongoing effort will also provide statewide access to an informational database about how specified military training, experience, and coursework translate to college credit for veterans and service members. OBR, in conjunction with the Military Strategic Implementation Team (MSIT), organized a Valuing Ohio Veterans Convening on October 20, 2014, in an effort to develop a statewide training program that prepares faculty and staff of the state institutions of higher education to evaluate various military training, experience, and coursework to award appropriate equivalent credit. The convening featured a military student panel and breakout sessions focused on best practices and policies. OBR is also continuing to partner with the American Council on Education to provide regional workshops for the University System of Ohio in April and May 2015, to further prepare faculty and staff for their roles in awarding credit.

3 One of the key resources made available to institutions during the convening was the Ohio Values Veterans Toolkit (See Attachment C for more information), which provides training information and session recordings from the convening; access to standardized resources that address frequently asked questions regarding the awarding of credit; and guidance on all of the institutional requirements within the ORC. OBR has been working diligently with the University System of Ohio to ensure proper adoption of these policies. The Board of Regents has made the toolkit available online to provide public access to recommendations, best practices, policy explanations, and examples of other institutions adoption of these policies in order to promote the academic achievement of our veterans and service members, as well as their success in the workforce. The toolkit is a robust resource for all institutions seeking to better serve the veterans and service members on their campus. As Ohio s public institutions seek to integrate service members and veterans into the campus environment, it is critical to properly identify students who have served or are serving our country. Across the system, institutions are struggling to identify a common way to identify veterans and service members. There is not a single set of common definitions for veterans and service members. State-level and federal-level definitions of veterans and service members vary. The Ohio Revised Code (ORC) defines service member as a person who is serving in the armed forces of the United States, and veteran as any person who has completed service in the armed forces, including the national guard of any state or a reserve component of the armed forces, and who has been discharged under honorable conditions from the armed forces or who has been transferred to the reserve with evidence of satisfactory service (ORC ). These definitions apply to sections , , , and of the ORC, and should be utilized when providing services and support to veterans and service members as required by these sections. Veterans are defined differently for federal financial aid and VA purposes. Federal definitions apply specifically to those programs and benefits, just as the ORC definitions apply specifically to state-level programs and benefits. Neither set of definitions should be applied broadly. Although this issue cannot be resolved at the state-level alone, institutions have raised concerns over the confusion and lack of a consistent definition brings to service members and veterans, as well as campus faculty and staff.

4 Attachment A [INSERT Institution Name] Valuing Our Veterans Support & Assistance Policy R.C

5 Attachment A PURPOSE STATEMENT [INSERT Institution Name] seeks to assist service members and veterans as they pursue an advanced degree and/or certificate. In an effort to better serve this population, [INSERT Institution Name] has adopted this policy as required by Ohio Revised Code Section (B). The purpose of this policy is to set forth the support and assistance [INSERT Institution Name] will provide to service members and veterans. In alignment with Ohio Revised Code Section , this policy utilizes the definitions for service member and veteran: Service member means a person who is serving in the armed forces of the United States. Veteran means any person who has completed service in the armed forces, including the national guard of any state or a reserve component of the armed forces, and who has been discharged under honorable conditions from the armed forces or who has been transferred to the reserve with evidence of satisfactory service. Support and Assistance Provided to Service Members and Veterans [INSERT Institution Name] will: Establish and maintain a service member and veteran student services office; Refer service members and veterans to proper local, state and/or federal agencies in the event [INSERT Institution Name] believes that the service member or veteran is eligible for services; Work with the Ohio Board of Regents (OBR) to develop a veteran-friendly campus that increases the opportunity for service members and veterans to succeed academically; Work with other Ohio institutions of higher education to disseminate and share promising practices for serving service members and veterans effectively; Promote veteran-friendly campuses by utilizing the OBR s structure to disseminate and share promising practices statewide for serving service members and veterans effectively; Train appropriate faculty and staff to increase awareness of the mindset and unique needs of service members and veterans returning from combat zones and/or tours of duty overseas; Create safe zones for service members and veterans through a student service member/veteran club, organization, or association and campus-wide awareness training; Provide a portion of student orientation (or a separate session) specifically for service members and veterans; Recognize the service of service members and veterans at various events such as graduation, community service awards, honors awards, and an appreciation day; Regularly evaluate institutional policies and procedures that create barriers to service member and veteran success; 2

6 Attachment A Empower those working directly with service members and veterans to provide services designed to promote educational achievement; Providing training, in partnership with Veterans Affairs, in the proper certification methods for certifying officials on each campus; Develop a clear outreach strategy to communicate with eligible persons about educational and training benefits to encourage the use of GI Bill benefits, as well as services and assistance offered by the institution; Continue to work with the legislature, workforce and higher education community to identify and develop statewide policies to ensure the transition to higher education is seamless for all students, including service members and veterans. (This may include, but is not limited to, issues such as transfer, credit for prior learning and/or experience, career ladders, support services, etc.); and Ensure the campus community is aware of benefits associated with the new Post 9/11 GI Bill and through our campus veterans office and veteran coordinator(s) to actively find ways to connect returning service members and veterans with the services offered by the Department of Veterans Affairs. (For institutions with workforce training, the following language is recommended): Workforce Training and Education [INSERT Institution Name] will work to provide better access and success for service members and veterans in postsecondary education and training while improving transition to civilian work. Services provided will include: An online tool for exploring careers, searching programs in Ohio and providing consumer reporting information on earnings and employment outcomes for each program. This website should include special information targeted to service members and veterans regarding shortening the time to receive a credential or degree through: o Expanding credit for prior learning; o Articulation and transfer agreements; o Bridge programs; o Applied Baccalaureate degrees; and o Online tools. Improving services for service member and veteran job seekers by promoting seamless workforce development services such as those provided at Ohio Means Jobs Centers, campus career centers, and through affiliates. 3

7 Attachment B

8 Attachment B

9 Attachment B

10 Attachment B

11 Attachment C On the web at: https://www.ohiohighered.org/ohio_values_veterans/toolkit

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