Veteran Services and Military Assistance Center opens at UW–Madison

May 15, 2014

by Greg Bump

Student veterans and active-duty military members at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have a new resource to aid them to access state and federal benefits.

The Veteran Services and Military Assistance Center, or VSMAC, is a collaboration between the university's Office of the Registrar and Division of Student Life. The VSMAC office, located on the 10th floor of the 333 East Campus Mall building, was officially opened today.

ROTC workouts at the Shell

Air Force ROTC cadets exercise and run on the track during one of several required group-fitness sessions held weekly for ROTC members at the Camp Randall Sports Center.

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VSMAC will serve as a resource for all military affiliated students, including veterans, active duty, reservists, National Guard personnel, ROTC members, and military dependents.

UW-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank says VSMAC's mission is to streamline the complex administrative process for veterans, and over time the center will expand programming to improve the student veteran experience at UW-Madison.

"Students who have dedicated themselves to serving their country deserve to pursue their education just as any other student can, without the addition of administrative burdens," Blank says. "This center makes that promise a reality."

The center staff will include School Certifying Official Joe Rasmussen and Assistant Dean of Students John Bechtol. The center consists of two business offices, a meeting area, and a display of campus-military related items. The office includes a specially designed space for use by third parties, such as federal and state officials, employers, academic advisors, and other campus agencies that assist student-veterans.

"We are very excited to offer more resources to the UW-Madison community through VSMAC and I believe that the enhanced services make for a better overall experience for students and staff alike," Rasmussen says.

Like many universities across the nation, UW-Madison has seen the number of students using federal GI Bill benefits grow quickly during the last decade. In fall 2005, the university had just more than 100 students using these benefits; in fall 2013, that number had increased to nearly 450.

There are 550 to 600 prior-service veterans and current military members, 150 to 200 military dependents, and 150 to 200 ROTC students enrolled at UW-Madison during a typical semester.