Tuesday September 13, 2016

Serving Those Who Served

Good news for U.S. military veterans and their dependents at the University of Dayton — 'U.S. News & World Report' listed the University among its 2017 Best Colleges for Veterans in its 'Best Colleges 2017' guidebook released Sept. 13.

There are more than 90 students using their military benefits to study at the University this fall. That's an increase of about 45 percent from a year ago, an unprecedented influx according to Racqueal Gamble, interim coordinator of veterans services in Flyer Student Services.

"We usually have four to five new students a semester, but we have had 27 this semester," said Gamble, who has worked in Flyer Student Services for 15 years. "We are starting to see more veteran students enrolling who have post 9/11 benefits and veterans who choose to transfer their benefits to dependents who want to attend UD."

Veterans Services at the University assists veterans and their dependents with answering questions about services, academic programs, benefit certifications and "connecting veterans to the resources to meet their needs." The office is located in St. Mary's 108, which is part of a move from the fourth floor to make the office more accessible for students.

Jason Reinoehl, vice president for enrollment management and marketing, predicts the wave will continue because of the University's proximity to civilian military and defense jobs in the region plus the military benefits they've earned make a University of Dayton education affordable.

The University is committed to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Principles of Excellence, a set of requirements to help students make informed decisions regarding their educational choices, according to Catherine W. Mix, assistant vice president for enrollment management and marketing. Schools in the program provide students with personalized tuition and educational plans, accommodate military personnel absent because of service requirements, and designate a point of contact to provide academic and financial advice.

The most important points Gamble wants to emphasize to students utilizing military benefits are: "Ask questions and know we are here to help."

Veterans also will find support once they come to campus in the UD Student Veterans Association started last year. Gamble serves as her office's liaison to the group, which is an official chapter of the Student Veterans of America. Grant Neeley, chair of political science and a public affairs officer in the Navy Reserve who served in Iraq, is the group's adviser.

"We provide a support system for veterans and help them integrate into the University community, which we feel enhances our experiences as well as those of traditional students," said Ashley Marolo, founder and president of the University of Dayton Student Veterans Association. "We also are working diligently to increase enrollment of veterans at UD by reaching out to transitioning service members to let them know UD is a great place."

For more information and a complete list of veterans services at the University of Dayton, visit the related link or St. Mary's 108. Or stop by the Flyer Student Services open house from 9:30 a.m. to noon Friday, Sept. 16. Father Kip Stander, S.M., will bless the new space at 10 a.m.

The U.S. News & World Report 2017 Best Colleges guidebook also ranked the University among the top tier national universities, top national undergraduate business and engineering programs, and "A+ Schools for B+ Students."

For more information, contact Shawn Robinson, associate director of media relations, at 937-229-3391 or srobinson@udayton.edu.

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