VMA encompasses Federal and State Benefits Certification, Military Affiliate Collaboration, and the UTSA Center for Military Affiliate Students, which serves more than 5,000 service members, veterans, and their families so they can achieve their educational goals. One of the major accomplishments, Logan said, was a major digital refresh. VMA has expanded its social media presence and the UTSA Mobile app to reach more of its target population in addition to a total overhaul of the university website for students affiliated with the militaryallowing more than 5,000 students to effectively navigate and utilize the benefits of military education.
“Understanding that the vast majority of our veterans are first-generation college students, we’ve redesigned our website to streamline and highlight the most important information,” Logan explained.
VMA also collaborated with other UTSA departments such as Financial Aid, Tax Services, and the Registrar’s Office to create back-office processes that improved accuracy, speed, and made the experience more transparent for students affiliated with the military.
Expanding outreach and engagement activities has been another important focus for the VMA team since 2021. Logan said the big open house known as UTSA day has now become a “do-it-all event” for its staff, who also hold workshops for every military education benefit the university offers each semester. His team created video walkthroughs and made staff available to work with Admissions in valuable briefings. Most notably, UTSA’s Coffee with Vets networking events have become more popular than ever.
“The growth of Coffee with Vets has led to a boom in community development, as it is frequented not only by veteran UTSA students, but also by faculty, staff and community members like Judge. Pierre Sakai and state senator Jose Menendez“, Logan said. “It’s quickly becoming a standing room only event.”
About 16% of the university’s students are affiliated with the military, including active duty military, veterans, reservists/guards, and their spouses and dependents. With that in mind, UTSA aims to reach more of these students “where they are,” Logan said, through the soon-to-be-launched Military Community Ambassador (MCA) program. MCAs will receive financial literacy training from the university One-stop registration center to supplement their knowledge of the benefits of military education, with the aim of providing representatives who are a truly comprehensive source of information for students affiliated with the military. These ambassadors will then be integrated into the six College Success Centers.
This momentum builds on UTSA being recognized as the 2022-23 Gold Military Friendly School just a few months ago. In recent years, the university has consolidated its many veterans services into the Center for Military-Affiliated Students, located on the first floor of the John Peace Library, to guide the UTSA military community to network, socialize, experience benefits, and navigate college more easily. New programs, such as priority registration and tailored orientation for veterans, veteran resource fairs, and professional development and wellness workshops, were also developed during this time.