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MTSU receives $91K to boost student veterans’...

MTSU receives $91K to boost student veterans’ success [+VIDEO]

NASHVILLE — Middle Tennessee State University will receive a state grant of nearly $91,000 to support its ongoing efforts to help student veterans successfully pursue their higher education degrees.

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam announced Aug. 10 that 11 colleges and universities will receive the Veteran Reconnect Grant, a competitive grant focused on improving the success of student veterans enrolled in Tennessee colleges and universities.

“From 2008 to 2013, we saw a 200 percent increase in the number of veterans enrolling in our Tennessee colleges and universities,” Haslam said in a release from his office.

Gov. Bill Haslam

Gov. Bill Haslam

Graduating MTSU student-veteran Kendra Buster, left, talks with Keith M. Huber, senior adviser for veterans and leadership initiatives, and Hilary Miller, director of the Veterans and Military Family Center, before the second Graduating Veterans Stole Ceremony. The event was held Aug. 5 in the Tom H. Jackson Building. (MTSU photos by Andy Heidt)

Graduating MTSU student-veteran Kendra Buster, left, talks with Keith M. Huber, senior adviser for veterans and leadership initiatives, and Dr. Hilary Miller, director of the Veterans and Military Family Center, before the second Graduating Veterans Stole Ceremony Aug. 5 in the Tom H. Jackson Building. (MTSU photo by Andy Heidt)

“Our Veterans Education Task Force has been working to address the unique needs that our service men and women have when they come home and go back to school, and these competitive grants will help two-year and four-year schools develop initiatives specifically designed for veterans to be successful in earning a degree or certificate.”

MTSU continues to enhance services for its student veteran population of roughly 1,000 including family members.

The university recently announced details of the new Veterans and Military Family Center, which will create a virtual one-stop-shop to meet a variety of academic-related needs.

The 2,600-square-foot center will be located on the first floor of the Keathley University Center and is set to open later this fall. It nearly doubles existing space allotted for student veterans services and will address a number of needs, such as financial aid and academic advising. The university has committed $329,000 toward the project.

MTSU’s $90,999 veterans’ education grant will go toward supporting center programs, officials said.

“These funds will enhance our efforts to better serve our student veterans, and we appreciate the state’s support,” said Dr. Hilary Miller, director of MTSU’s new military center.

“Our student veterans and their families deserve the best services available, and with the opening of our new Veterans and Military Family Center this fall, this grant will provide a timely boost as we develop new programs and services for this unique student population.”

Haslam included the grant in his fiscal year 2015-16 budget amendment, and the General Assembly approved $1 million for the Veteran Reconnect Grant, the release states.

Grant proposals were requested in May and applicants had a July 2 submission deadline. A committee of higher education and veterans service leaders reviewed the proposals.

Other Tennessee recipients of the Veteran Reconnect Grant include:MT Vet-Reconnect combo web

  • Belmont University, $95,000.
  • Chattanooga State Community College, $92,000.
  • Columbia State Community College, $92,797.
  • East Tennessee State University, $95,000.
  • Jackson State Community College, $94,151.
  • Lipscomb University, $80,415.
  • Maryville College, $82,257.
  • Northeast State Community College, $94,600.
  • University of Memphis, $93,374.
  • Volunteer State Community College, $89,104.

The Veteran Reconnect Grant is part of the governor’s Drive to 55 initiative aimed at increasing the number of Tennesseans with a certificate or degree beyond high school. By 2025, 55 percent of the jobs in Tennessee will require a post-secondary degree or credential. Currently, only 33 percent of Tennesseans qualify, according to figures from the governor’s office.

For more information on MTSU’s veterans services, visit www.mtsu.edu/military.

You can also watch this video about MTSU’s plans for its Veterans and Military Family Center.

— Jimmy Hart (jimmy.hart@mtsu.edu)


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