Barela to manage veterans benefits program at Colorado State University - Pueblo
PUEBLO – A former Colorado State University-Pueblo employee will manage the office responsible for gaining educational benefits for veterans. Laura Barela became the Director of Veteran Affairs on Sept. 1, bringing more than 10 years experience at CSU-Pueblo including time as assistant registrar, graduation evaluator, and veterans educational benefits coordinator as well as designation as a VA certifying official. She also brings back to the University five years experience in veterans educational benefits at two other institutions, including serving as assistant director of Veteran and Military Student Affairs at the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs.
The Director of the Office of Veteran Affairs serves as the source of expertise and primary contact point at CSU-Pueblo for veterans needs and manages the overall administrative process and program assessment activities. This person collaborates and partners with other academic support services in both the Registrar and Financial Aid offices to deliver timely, accurate, and efficient support services to veterans and their eligible dependants. Additionally, this person will represent CSU-Pueblo in appropriate organizations geared toward professionals in the field of veterans’ program administration and ensure University compliance with all laws, regulations, and procedures of the Department of Veterans Affairs, the state of Colorado, and CSU-Pueblo. Bob Ojeda will continue in the office of Veterans Educational Benefits to assist our veterans and their dependants, through Barela’s direction and oversight.
The process of securing educational benefits through the federal Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) has become increasingly complex, requiring accountability to the federal government for how veterans educational benefits are being applied, which involves extensive knowledge of VA policies and veterans educational benefits, along with extremely specific and detailed record-keeping for each individual student veteran served.
A recent certification survey of CSU-Pueblo’s educational benefit process ranked the hiring of a director of veterans affairs as an immediate priority to oversee the unit and the certification process and to ensure that the University remains compliant with DVA regulations.
“We want our current veterans and their eligible dependants to continue to have the financial support they deserve to continue their educations,” said CSU-Pueblo President Lesley Di Mare, “and we want future veterans to have confidence in our process and our ability to assist them.”
Barela has been working as the interim disability resource specialist and will function in both capacities until an individual is hired in that role, hopefully within the next two months.
Colorado State University - Pueblo is a regional, comprehensive university emphasizing professional, career-oriented, and applied programs. Displaying excellence in teaching, celebrating diversity, and engaging in service and outreach, CSU-Pueblo is distinguished by access, opportunity, and the overall quality of services provided to its students.