(DES MOINES) – Gov. Terry E. Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds today announced the Home Base Iowa Certified Higher Academic Military Partner (CHAMP) program. The program allows Iowa colleges and universities to become CHAMP certified for their ability to educate and assist veterans on campus. The certification will help attract veterans leaving the service to Iowa and help academic institutions market their campus as veteran friendly.
“With 495 veterans hired through Home Base Iowa thus far, it’s clear our veterans’ jobs initiative is a growing success,” said Branstad. “Today’s announcement of the Home Base Iowa Certified Higher Academic Military Partner program is another step toward ensuring service members transitioning to civilian life have the educational resources they need here in Iowa.”
The Home Base Iowa Act was signed into law on May 26, 2014. It passed the Iowa Senate 46-0 and the Iowa House 94-2.
“Governor Branstad and I are pleased to see the continued broad bipartisan support Home Base Iowa continues to receive across the state,” said Reynolds. “With nearly two-thirds of Iowa currently in the process of becoming Home Base Iowa Communities, it’s clear Iowans are embracing this initiative to match veterans with quality careers.”
To become a Home Base Iowa CHAMP campus, education institutions must meet three of the four criteria in each of the three categories below:
1. On-Campus Veteran Resources
a. Full Time Veterans Services Coordinator or Veterans’ Representative and office.
b. Veterans Center/study space dedicated to veteran student population with possibility of computers to sign up for benefits or meeting area for Vet Club.
c. Veterans’ Services Support Group (made up of Veterans’ Representative, Advisors, Faculty, Staff) to address issues veterans face and encourage veterans clubs and meetings.
d. Career placement assistance
2. Mindfulness of Service Member Transitions
a. Consistent credit honored for all of the established military training and schools (Joint Services Transcript, Community College of the Air Force credit, ACE recommended credit, CLEP, DSST).
b. Advanced/Preferential registration dates for student veteran population.
c. Offer veterans sections for new student orientation.
d. College President Signature on Principles of Excellence laid out in Executive Order 13607
3. Financial Considerations
a. Automatic in-state tuition for former active-duty service members, National Guard and Reserve members, spouses and children domiciled in Iowa, regardless of residency requirements.
b. Deferred billing options to ensure timing of VA benefit payments does not hinder academic success.
c. Deferred billing or options to assist student veterans in purchasing books, tools and supplies required for vocational programs.
d. Specific scholarship for transitioning service members and/or their dependents.
BACKGROUND ON THE HOME BASE IOWA ACT
Gov. Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds launched the Home Base Iowa initiative in November of 2013 at the Iowa Gold Star Military Museum at Camp Dodge. Branstad and Reynolds named Congressman Leonard Boswell and Casey’s CEO Bob Myers the co-chairs of the initiative.
In January 2014, Gov. Branstad made Home Base Iowa the centerpiece of his legislative plan by stating at his Condition of the State address, “This session, the centerpiece of my agenda is Home Base Iowa. It is a bipartisan jobs plan focusing on recruiting service members to Iowa and matching them with good, high paying careers. […] Our veterans have risked their lives defending our freedom. To show our gratitude, let’s make Iowa the leader in respect, support and opportunity for veterans.”
Four communities – Greene County, Howard County, Clarke County and Floyd County – have become certified Home Base Iowa Communities.
The Home Base Iowa Act does the following:
- Fully exempts military pensions from state income tax.
- Gives veterans, their spouses and dependents in-state tuition at Iowa’s colleges and universities.
- Allows Iowa’s licensing boards to adopt rules allowing credit for military training and experience in the licensing process.
- Allows private-sector companies to follow the public sector’s lead by allowing a preference in hiring and promoting veterans.
- Eliminates the special plate issuance fees charged for plates associated with military service.
- Expands eligibility for the Military Homeownership Assistance Program, which provides $5,000 in down payment and closing cost assistance. Additional funding for the program is provided in a separate appropriations bill.
In addition to the Home Base Iowa Act, Branstad also signed Senate File 2352 in 2014.
Senate File 2352 an Act relating to the additional homestead credit for certain disabled veterans and including effective date and applicability provisions.
For more information on Home Base Iowa, please visit www.HomeBaseIowa.org.