THEC Awards Veterans Reconnect Grant to Austin Peay
(Posted Nov. 8, 2018)
Earlier this fall, the Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC) awarded Austin Peay State University with a Veterans Reconnect Grant to support a new Military Pathway Pilot Project designed to help military and veteran students transition quickly and easily into college or new career fields.
The $49,896 grant will support programs and services for student veterans at Austin Peay. The Veteran Reconnect Grant program is part of Gov. Bill Haslam’s Drive to 55 initiative to increase educational attainment in the state to 55 percent by the year 2025.
Austin Peay’s 2018 Veteran Reconnect Grant proposal focused on improving the assessment of prior learning for student veterans returning to college. Prior learning assessments (PLA) at colleges and universities examine a veteran’s prior military training and grants equivalent college credit for those skills attained during service. By using PLAs, veterans can complete their postsecondary credential in an accelerated timeframe.
As part of the grant, Austin Peay will continue developing and improving guided academic pathways to support veterans as they transition from the military to campus and civilian life.
“Translating military experience into the civilian workforce can be challenging for many veterans,” Mike Krause, THEC director, said. “The academic pathways supported by this program will ensure we are creating enhanced opportunities for veterans to bring their leadership and technical skills to Tennessee employers.”
Austin Peay is the state’s largest provider of higher education to military-affiliated students, with at least 2,329 enrolled students having a military connection in the fall of 2017.
At 4 p.m. on Nov. 17, the University will host a special Military Appreciation football game at Austin Peay’s Fortera Stadium. One thousand tickets for free admission to the game against Murray State are available to military servicemembers, veterans, and family members who are ID card holders, thanks to a generous gift by retired Chief Warrant Officer 4 Joe Maynard and his wife, Andrea. A pregame exhibit will feature two Humvees, and a flyover will occur after the national anthem.
In September, the University’s Board of Trustees unanimously voted to create a Military Family Resource Center, which will have the potential to house several of the University’s existing academic and support programs in one location, including the Military Student Center, Veterans Upward Bound, the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs’ VetSuccess on Campus office, and enrollment management support offices.
The center is being developed to “provide seamless support to students completing a variety of activities, such as applying for admission, accessing financial aid, selecting a program of study, registering for courses, progressing toward graduation, and securing employment after graduation.”
Earlier this year, retired Lt. Gen. Ronald Bailey, former deputy commandant for Plans, Policies and Operations for the U.S. Marine Corps, was named vice president for external affairs at Austin Peay, and retired Brig. Gen. Scott E. Brower, former deputy commanding general of the 101st Airborne Division, joined the University’s senior leadership team as the institution’s first military adviser in residence.
In 2015, the Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC) honored the University’s support of this population by naming Austin Peay a Veterans Education Transition Support (VETS) Campus. According to THEC, VETS Campus certification is awarded to higher education institutions that “not only prioritize outreach to veterans, but successfully deliver the services necessary to create a supportive environment where student veterans can prosper while pursuing their education.”
The University also offers academic programs and classes at its Austin Peay Center at Fort Campbell. Active duty military service members, veterans and civilians can earn an associate, bachelor’s or master’s degree through 7 1/2-week courses at the center, allowing them to achieve their objectives faster than during traditional 16-week semesters.
For more information, visit https://www.apsu.edu/apfc/.