In an announcement today from Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, Belmont University was awarded a $95,000 Tennessee Veteran Reconnect Grant from the Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC). The program is designed “to accelerate the success of veterans already enrolled on Tennessee campuses and create favorable conditions to recruit new student veterans. Ultimately, it is the goal of this program that Tennessee be the premier state in the nation for student veteran success.”
“We’re thrilled to have been awarded the Veteran Reconnect funding so that we can build capacity to support our student veterans,” said Dr. Mimi Barnard, Belmont’s associate provost for interdisciplinary studies and global education who will serve as the grant’s project director. “Our faculty and staff appreciate the sacrifices and commitments made by those who serve in the armed forces, and this grant will allow us to create programming and services that will assist them as they pursue degrees that lead to meaningful careers, stronger communities and a more competitive Tennessee.”
The $95,000 grant Belmont received is part of a $1 million award from THEC to 11 community colleges and public and private universities across the state. Since Belmont’s Yellow Ribbon Program was implemented in 2010, student veteran enrollment has nearly quadrupled, and military family enrollment has more than doubled. Belmont participates in the Yellow Ribbon Program at the highest level, matching the remaining tuition and mandatory fees in full that are not covered by the Post 9/11 benefit for all undergraduate, master’s and doctoral programs.
In Belmont’s grant proposal, four areas were identified in which the University seeks to focus additional attention and resources: Learning Support, Community Building, Career Advancement and Communication to Internal and External Stakeholders. The Belmont Veteran Reconnect Initiative will provide a series of services, events and programs that will accelerate the success of veterans already enrolled and create favorable conditions to recruit new student veterans. For example, one part of the initiative, “Operation Graduate,” offers a comprehensive curriculum plan that is designed for student success within the parameters of the individual’s major, time, benefits, etc. and would include academic coaching with a mentor. In addition, a special Bruin Vet Orientation and Welcome Dinner is planned for student veterans and their families during the University’s Welcome Week this fall. A signature and unique component of Belmont’s Veteran Reconnect Program is a tailored convocation series to provide relevant, compelling programming specific to the assimilation needs of returning service members.
Other colleges and universities receiving funding included Chattanooga State Community College, Columbia State Community College, East Tennessee State University, Jackson State Community College, Lipscomb University, Maryville College, Middle Tennessee State University, Northeast State Community College, University of Memphis and Volunteer State Community College. The full press release from Governor Haslam’s office can be found here.
About the Tennessee Higher Education Commission
The Tennessee Higher Education Commission is the state’s coordinating agency for higher education. Guided by the Public Agenda for Tennessee Higher Education, THEC oversees an array of finance, academic, research and consumer protection initiatives that promote student success and support the State’s completion agenda for postsecondary education. THEC actively seeks to develop policy recommendations, programmatic initiatives, and partnerships that increase educational attainment in the state while improving higher education access and success for all Tennesseans.