Daniel Chi / Asst. photo editor
Ohio State might be called military friendly, but some student-veterans disagree.
The university has been ranked a Military Friendly School by “G.I. Jobs” magazine for the fourth year in a row. The ranking goes to the top 15 percent of colleges across the country that do the most to accommodate U.S. military students. The list is decided through surveys of more than 12,000 schools.
But some student-veterans don’t think OSU is deserving of that label.
“I haven’t really seen a lot of military friendliness,” said Josh Haller, a second-year in exploration and Iraq War veteran. “Everyone as a whole is pretty military friendly since we were in Iraq, but I haven’t seen (OSU) going above and beyond for military students.”
Haller served with the Army in Iraq for 16 months.
Other veterans, though, are happy with what OSU does for its students who have served.
“(OSU has) been somewhat flexible with us, the (Veterans Affairs) and everything,” said Michael Monaco. His wife, Erin Monaco, is using his G.I. Bill benefits as a second-year in microbiology. “I do think it’s a military-friendly school. They gave us a lot of leeway with the VA.”
Veterans Affairs is the office in charge of student veteran payments.
OSU recently opened an Office of Military and Veterans Services, which caters specifically to military and veteran students. The office is located in the Student Academic Services Building at 281 W. Lane Ave. The opening was announced in a Sept. 27 university press release.
A military-specific orientation, a conference about teaching veterans and a new veteran-specific university website had already been implemented this year before the new office opened, said Mike Carrell, OSU assistant provost and director of the Office of Military and Veteran Services.
The university does not have an official estimate as to how much the new office cost. A graduate student created the new veterans website for free, and the new physical offices went through minor renovations. There was a slight increase of salaries for those employees moving from part-time to full-time work hours. A new senior veterans benefits specialist position was created and filled by Melissa Boyd from OSU’s student service center, Carrell said.
Even the new student workers in the office are paid by Veterans Affairs and not the university, Carrell said.
But some student-veterans such as Haller said they weren’t even aware the new office had opened, and said they felt out of the loop on what services OSU offers them.
“I mean, they obviously know which students are vets. I think it would be kind of cool if there was more outreach to the vets,” Haller said, adding that OSU doesn’t reach out to tell student-veterans what programs are new and what services are offered.
Carrell agreed getting information out to veterans about their services is the biggest area in which the Office of Military and Veterans Services needs to improve.
Carrell said educating students on services and getting more information to them is something the office needs to improve.
Michael Monaco thinks the biggest area OSU has to improve on is “the speed at which they handle accounts with the VA,” so the university won’t hinder scheduling for the next semester or the release of grades to students due to late payments.
There are almost 1,800 military or veteran students and 150 military dependents including spouses and children of military personnel or veterans who are using their G.I. Bill benefits enrolled at OSU.