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UI First Campus to Have Student Vet Program

IOWA CITY, Iowa (CBS 2/ FOX 28)-The Department of Veterans Affairs announced Monday that it's partnering with the University of Iowa and Iowa City VA Health Care System to help student veterans succeed in the classroom.

"This kind of program is really really critical," Congressman Dave Loebsack said.

The program known as ICOVE is the first ever initiative in the country to help the transition from deployment to college.

Michael Considine, UIVA president, is a student vet who has been deployed twice.

He said that he wants to succeed in the classroom and outside of the classroom, but the transition wasn't easy.

"Extremely difficult," he said. "Switching from school to the technology mindset and back to school was totally a transition."

Considine said that this program could help not only him re-adjust after deployment, but will also be beneficial for other student vets.

ICOVE will help veterans enter college and provide classes geared for students to take their military training and put what they learned into a college class.

"For those folks who have served our country, made the ultimate sacrifice and are transitioning," Loebsack said. "I think thats a good word for this-transitioning into civilian life."

A big transition that many other veterans have gone through.

Current UI student vets said they want to help future veterans be successful too.

"Students being able to come back and get the ball rolling, UI student vet Greg Touzani said about returning from deployment and going to school. "And trying to figure out what to do."

Michael Hall, a neuropsychologist and the ICOVE Director, said this program is designed for veterans to succeed at home, work and school.

A program that Hall said comes "from a class we have already incorporated and a textbook."

Doctor Hall also designed this program to help veterans get jobs, deal with post deployment trauma, obtain their diploma and also help support them and their fmailies.

The new initiative will also provide tools for future employers, friends and families to understand where the student veterans are coming from and how they can be supportive.
And with it being the only program of its kind in the country, it's also a way for vets to feel at home.

"Veterans are very different and especially here on campus," Considine said. "Although we may understand each other and may understand each other's experiences but no veteran is the same as the other." 

Student vets like Considine said they don't only want to be remembered as a vet, but also a college graduate.

Both Considine and Touzani are scheduled to graduate in May 2015.

The University of Iowa serves about 600 student vets. 90 of those vets will be graduating this month.

Student vets will be able to enroll in the pilot program at UI next Spring.

At least 15 other universities have looked into the program and are considering it at their school.

Hall wasn't able to provide the names of those universities but he said that the number of schools interested include colleges in Iowa and also around the country.

ICOVE will cost about $2.2 billion for the two-year project on the UI campus.

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