Southern Vermont College Announces
(Prescott, AZ) Members of the Southern Vermont College Veterans Association (SVCVA) attended the 6th Annual SVA Conference in Prescott, AZ. The SVCVA is an official chapter of Student Veterans of America and is committed to supporting student Veterans on campus and beyond.
(Pictured left to right - Roger Safford, SVC student and Army Veteran; Wayne Hemingway, former Veterans' Scholar Program Coordinator, SVC Alum and Army Veteran; and Andrew Safford, SVC student and Marine Corps Veteran.)
Southern Vermont College President Karen Gross announced the creation of a Veterans’ Scholar Program as part of an expansion of the College’s award-winning Pipelines into Partnership Program. In this new effort, up to 12 recent Veterans will be selected by their Commanding Officers to enter SVC in Fall 2014.
The selected Veteran Scholars will visit the SVC campus with their families at no cost, prior to beginning their studies. On a return visit to campus they will participate in an intensive orientation program on college life offered by the College’s faculty and staff.
President Gross said, “These activities create an opportunity for the Veteran Scholars to be introduced to needed academic skills, an understanding of campus culture, and the career launching opportunities at SVC that build on their military training.”
Once matriculated, the Veteran Scholars will receive ongoing mentoring from peers, faculty and staff throughout their college experience. Financial aid packaging beyond existing federal benefits will be provided to the Veteran Scholars, including through the Yellow Ribbon program in which SVC participates. Off-campus housing, suitable for non-traditional students and families, will be made available.
SVC Director of Veterans' Scholar Program Sara Patch, who oversees the Veterans' Scholar Program, stated, “The entire SVC community has rallied around our objective to bring the first Veterans' cohort to campus. We are deeply committed to their success both in the classroom and beyond.”
The cohort model, already successfully deployed within the SVC Pipeline Program, is aimed at reducing the obstacles many new students face as they enter and progress through a four-year college.
“For Veterans, the cohort model mirrors the battalion and teamwork central to military life,” said President Gross. “Together with an intensive orientation program and the continuing mentoring and support offered by this program, we will be able to ameliorate the often difficult transition from military life to civilian life.”
Over the past year, President Gross has worked closely with the U.S. Departments of Defense, Veterans Affairs and Labor while on leave from the College to serve as a Senior Policy Advisor to the US Department of Education in Washington, DC. She was the Department of Education’s representative on the interagency task force charged with redesigning the transition assistance program for returning service members and their families pursuant to the VOW Act signed into law in November of 2011 and effective on November 21, 2012. While at the Department, Dr. Gross facilitated efforts addressing Veteran success on America’s campuses. Upon her return to the SVC campus, she saw the potential for Veterans to succeed at SVC through an expansion of the existing Pipeline program which has met with remarkable success.
The data show that the existing SVC Mountaineer Scholars, many of whom are the first in their families to attend college, have retention rates and levels of engagement that outpace the SVC student population in general and national norms for similarly situated students.
President Gross continued, “SVC has had remarkable success with first generation, Pell eligible students, and we can extend our learning in this arena to our Veterans to foster their collegiate success. I look forward to welcoming our first cohort of Veteran Scholars who will, I am sure, enrich our campus with their depth and breadth of experiences and their leadership capacities. It is one small way in which we can show our appreciation for their service to our nation.”
Founded in 1926, Southern Vermont College offers a career-enhancing, liberal arts education with 17 academic degree programs for more than 500 students. SVC recognizes the importance of educating students for the workplace of the twenty-first century and for lives as successful leaders in their communities. SVC’s athletic teams are part of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division III and the New England Collegiate Conference (NECC). The College is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges and has been designated by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching as a Community-Engagement Classification institution.