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Veteran Reconnect Grant

Veteran Reconnect Logo

Request for Proposals (2017 Closed)

 The Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC) announced  that 13 colleges and universities in Tennessee will receive additional funding and program support to serve veterans and service members and help them earn postsecondary degrees as part of Governor Bill Haslam’s Drive to 55.

THEC will award $760,781 in total Veteran Reconnect funds to support programs and services for student veterans at campuses across the state. The 2017 grant program is specifically focused on improving the assessment of prior learning for student veterans returning to college, helping them more easily convert previous military experience into college credit, and improving the transition between military service and postsecondary education. THEC will provide technical assistance and professional development to Veteran Reconnect campuses around prior learning assessment (PLA) for veterans.

“In Tennessee, there are an estimated 83,000 veterans with some college credit but no degree, and we are committed to making it easier for them to transition into higher education and graduate,” Haslam said. “Veterans bring valuable experience and learning from their time in the service, and through Veteran Reconnect, we are helping them turn that experience into credit, earn postsecondary degrees, and move into quality jobs after serving.”

Institutions receiving the grants are required to develop and implement new evaluation processes for translating military training into academic credit, while also ensuring that prospective and incoming student veterans have easy, clear access to the information. This grant aligns with legislation passed earlier this year by the Tennessee General Assembly which directs THEC to develop an online web platform to assist veterans in translating their military experience to academic credit. The institutions that participate in Veteran Reconnect grant program will be partners in that effort by mapping the opportunities already available to students at their institutions.  

“Receiving proper credit for military training was a frustration we heard from veterans, and Veteran Reconnect is one of the ways we are easing that frustration,” said THEC Executive Director Mike Krause. “Veterans and service members are often forced to decide on a program of study before they know how their military training will be applied to academic coursework. As a state, we’re working to make this process as transparent as possible so veterans know how their military service will translate before enrolling.”

Veteran Reconnect will provide funding from August 1, 2017 until January 31, 2019. The current round of funding marks the third time THEC has awarded Veteran Reconnect grants to institutions. The 2015 grant provided support to 11 campuses to focus on developing enrollment, retention, and graduation of veteran students. The 2016 grant provided funding to six campuses, focused on expanding existing student veteran programs and bringing successful programs to scale.

Veteran Reconnect is part of Haslam’s Drive to 55 initiative to increase the number of Tennesseans with a postsecondary degree or credential to 55 percent by 2025. The grants were included in Haslam’s FY 2017-18 budget.

2017-18 Veteran Reconnect Grants:

Austin Peay State University | $79,954

Christian Brothers University | $27,673

Cleveland State Community College | $79,902

East Tennessee State University | $80,000

Jackson State Community College | $44,500

Lipscomb University | $80,000

Middle Tennessee State University | $72,118

Pellissippi State Community College | $70,190

Tennessee College of Applied Technology Shelbyville | $7,500

Tennessee Technological University | $71,355

Tennessee Wesleyan University | $67,838

University of Memphis | $60,734

University of Tennessee at Chattanooga | $19,017

Nearly $1 Million in Support for Campus Services to Student Veterans

The Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC) announced the six campuses receiving nearly $1 million in funds through the 2016 Veteran Reconnect grant program. The grant is part of the State of Tennessee's larger efforts to support and encourage adult learners, many of whom are veterans, studying at Tennessee institutions.

Programs were funded at Chattanooga State Community College, Lipscomb University, Maryville College, Middle Tennessee State University, Tusculum College, and the University of Tennessee at Martin. The most recent round of the Veteran Reconnect program, which was awarded through a competitive proposal process, aims to build on proven practices to support veterans on campuses and will provide funding for a 22-month grant period.

"Every student enrolled in college has a unique set of needs and that is especially true for veteran students," said THEC Executive Director Mike Krause. "Veteran Reconnect is assisting veterans on Tennessee campuses to both connect with their campus and with their fellow servicemen."

The programs funded through Veteran Reconnect will increase campus services for student veterans and provide veteran-specific resources, such as the expansion of campus veteran centers or professional development for faculty and staff on the specific needs of students with military experience.

Veteran Reconnect was first awarded to 11 campuses in 2015 for a 15-month service period. To date, outcomes include:

  • Development of standardized systems of tracking the enrollment, retention, and graduation of student veterans;
  • Formation of veteran success committees on campus composed of staff, faculty, and students focused on the continued evolution of best practices in veteran education;
  • Providing dedicated student veteran coordinators on each campus to serve as a sole point of contact for student veterans and all of their needs;
  • Building and furnishing veterans centers or lounges on campus to provide study space, social interaction, enhanced academic support, and other resources;
  • In-depth training programs for faculty and staff to improve awareness of veteran-specific issues; and
  • Increased internship and employment opportunities for veteran students through new annual career development training sessions and enhanced relationship-building with corporate partners.

Veteran Reconnect is part of Governor Bill Haslam's Drive to 55 initiative to increase the number of Tennesseans with a postsecondary degree or certificate to 55 percent by 2025. The grants were funded through state appropriations in the 2016-17 budget. Grants activities begin September 1, 2016.

2016-18 Veteran Reconnect Programs:
*Indicates prior recipient of Veteran Reconnect grant

Chattanooga State Community College* | $130,000
Chattanooga State Community College will enhance existing services for student veterans in three areas: professional development for faculty and staff, veteran student engagement and support, and career development for veteran students. Additionally, the grant funds will assist in encouraging student veterans to tell their stories as part of the Telling Project production. The campus will also increase activities focused on student veterans, including celebrations and recognition of veterans during the academic year, a community service project, and a business networking event focused on student veterans.

Lipscomb University* | $185,563
Lipscomb University will use funds to increase its visibility among prospective veteran students and increase engagement of the school's veteran alumni. Lipscomb, which has a goal of doubling the number of veteran students it serves by 2021, will hold an annual veteran student orientation, provide enhanced academic support for veteran students, and provide faculty and staff with training on veteran-specific issues. The university will also enhance career services for veterans through career development training sessions and corporate partnerships focused on providing internships and jobs for veterans.

Maryville College* | $122,922
Maryville College will build on the work of its previous Veteran Reconnect grant by developing an individualized approach to monitoring specific steps to degree and career attainment for veterans. A new staff position, the Veteran Success Coordinator, will develop an individualized success plan for each veteran student to serve as a roadmap to academic progress, degree completion, and employment.

Middle Tennessee State University* | $185,463
Through Veteran Reconnect, Middle Tennessee State University will enhance the services offered to veteran students and their families through the Charlie and Hazel Daniels Veterans and Family Military Center. Specific initiatives include funding for a full-time transition manager to work with veteran students as they transition into the university, as well as travel for the position and the Center’s employer search agent. Additionally, the Center will hire a graduate assistant to focus on outreach to veterans on campus through communications and social media. Funds will also go to support students attending veteran-related conferences.

Tusculum College | $185,470
Tusculum College will use Veteran Reconnect funds to develop, create, and hire the position of Director of Veterans Affairs. In addition, the college will enhance the services of its Veteran Education Program by providing veterans with streamlined enrollment, promotion of student veteran resources, financial advisement, implementation of faculty and staff training to increase awareness of veterans' needs, and workforce partnerships.

University of Tennessee at Martin | $168,877
The University of Tennessee at Martin, using Veteran Reconnect funds, will develop an integrated approach to student services for veterans. The university will hire a Veterans Service Specialist and dedicate space on campus to develop a student veterans center. The grant will also assist in establishing a veterans success committee, developing an orientation designed specifically for new student veterans, and integrating prior learning assessment (PLA) to assist veterans in receiving credit for their prior military training.