Services Focused on the Special Needs of Today’s Veterans, Service-members, Dependents, and Survivors
G.V. “SONNY” MONTGOMERYCENTER FOR AMERICA’S VETERANSMISSISSIPPI STATE UNIVERISTY
MAJOR TOPICServices Focused on the Special Needs of Todays Veterans, Service- members, Dependents, And Survivors (VSDS)
ESTABLISHEDThe University’s G.V. “Sonny” Montgomery Centerfor America’s Veterans was established in the fall of 2006. The Center’s goal is to provide comprehensive student support services to veterans, service members, dependents, andsurvivors. Unique in its mission and goals, one of the center’s aims is to help foster similar programs throughout the higher education community.
MISSION STATEMENT To support the mission of the Division ofStudent Affairs through the development and implementation of outreach and transitionprograms designed to provide student support services focused on the special needs and requirements of today’s military veterans, service members, dependents, and survivors.
TOPICS Major Program Scholarships Student Tracking University Veteran Friendly Programs Veteran Issues Lessons Learned
MAJOR PROGRAMS Transition Program Provide transition assistance services to VSDS to ease thetransition from military to college life. The program consists of thefollowing: o Veterans Transition Program VTAC- Veterans Transition to Academic Classes VSDS Workshop Sessions – Once a Month VA Benefits Claims Representative – Once a Month o Career Transition Program Career Center Partnership Career Counselor – Once a Month o Family Assistance Program Family Needs (Housing, Day Care, Employment, andEmergencies, etc.)
MAJOR PROGRAMS Outreach Program Provide outreach services to VSDS students through anaggressive recruiting and retention program. Work withpublic, private, and non-profit organizations to fund incentive programsto support recruiting and retention goals. Other outreach initiativesinclude contact with Active, Reserve, and National GuardUnits, attending college fairs, and conducting veteran education andassistance nights throughout the state and region. Comprehensive Benefit Counseling Program Through a series of intake interviews and counselingsessions, the Center staff assists VSDS students in determining theirfinancial, academic, and other needs.
MAJOR PROGRAMS Veteran Work Study Program The program is designed to offer part time work to veterans,service members, dependents and survivors who are currentlyreceiving VA educational benefits. Student Government Member Veteran Affairs Student Government Cabinet Member Student Veteran Association A student led organization established to help VSDSstudents have a voice on campus, network with other campusorganizations, build relationships and get involved in communityprojects.
SCHOLARSHIPS Center For America’s Veterans Scholarship o Started with Wal-Mart Foundation $100,000 Donation in the Spring of 2009 o Receive donations from other agencies and individuals to use for scholarships o Awarded between $20,000 and $25,000 each year in scholarships o Scholarships are awarded per year in the amount of $1,000, $800, and $500
SCHOLARSHIPS Pat Tillman Foundation o Partnered with the Pat Tillman Foundation in the Fall of 2009. Since then 15 students have received a total of $158,000 in scholarships. o Currently have 7 students receiving $52,000. Russell Gains Scholarship o Scholarship started in the Spring of 2010 o Awarded five veterans $2,000 each per year
STUDENT TRACKING Accomplished through the Entrance Application Automatically entered into the VSDS database Reports generated based on attributecharacteristics 2093 Student Veterans, Service-members, Dependents, and Survivors at MississippiState (This is 10% of Total Student Population) 625 Students receiving some type of GI BillBenefits
University Programs & Policies Mobilization Policy o Mobilization- Student has 3 options • Withdraw with full refund (no grade) • Leave after ¾ term, take the final within 90 days of return or if possible while deployed in independent study (decided by individual and professor) • Leave after the ¾ term mark, the student can take their current grade
University Programs & Policies Priority Registration GI Bill benefits recipients can register for class during the 1st 5 days of class registration with athletes and honor students Yellow Ribbon School School sponsors 35 students for 1/2 of their out of state tuition (VA will pay the other ½) Yellow Ribbon will be unlimited next year Incentives Working On o Waiving of application fee o Waiving of out of state tuition for Veterans
Veteran Issues Veterans face several challenges when they enroll or attempt to enroll in school. Information Issues o Required Paper Work o Military Transfer Credit Admission Issues o Application / Application Fees o Orientation o Transcripts o ACT / SAT Scores
Veteran Issues Financial Aid Issues o FAFSA o Tax Documents o Receiving Money in a Timely Manner Injury / Trauma Issue o Reluctant to Seek Help o Apprehensive About Being Singled Out o PTSD / TBI Issues General Transition Issues o Taking To Many Hours o Time Management o Family Needs
Lessons Learned Staff and Faculty Education (Workshops) Use all available resources Do not forget about dependents and survivors Remember the word “Transition” Get students involved with Student Veteran Organization and other events on campus Identify veterans, service-member, dependents, and survivor through admissions