University announces new veterans’ affairs advisory group

Sureya Melkonian/Staff

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In a continued effort to address the concerns of student veterans, UC President Janet Napolitano announced the formation of a new veterans’ affairs advisory group Monday.

Napolitano met with 10 veterans, one from each UC campus, to discuss how to better welcome student veterans and ensure their academic success. Topics included financial aid package communication strategies and training for veterans’ services staff.

“I anticipate that this advisory group will be instrumental in helping us formulate and improve policies that directly affect our current and future student veterans,” Napolitano said in the press release.

More than 1,300 military veterans and about 100 active duty military personnel currently are enrolled across the UC system, according to the press release. Those figures are only expected to increase in the coming years as military personnel return to the United States from abroad.

Veterans’ services coordinators are already active on each UC campus, and the post-9/11 GI Bill allows undergraduate, graduate and professional students to have their full in-state tuition paid for up to 36 months.

The meeting follows an appearance by Paul Malone, president of the UCSB Student Veterans Organization, at Napolitano’s student Google Hangout last Tuesday. But Napolitano’s interest in veterans’ affairs preceded that meeting, according to UC spokesperson Dianne Klein.

“The president has always been interested in veterans and increasing the number of veterans in higher education,” Klein said.

Connor Grubaugh covers higher education. Contact him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @ConnorGrubaugh.