College News

CCCC heads first N.C. Veterans Upward Bound project

10.16.2012College & CommunityCurriculum Programs

SANFORD - Military veterans will find support in getting and staying on track for a college education, thanks to the new Veterans Upward Bound project headed by Central Carolina Community College.

The U.S. Department of Education recently awarded the college a five-year, $1.23 million dollar Veterans Upward Bound project grant to increase college attendance and success among veterans. The DOE has been awarding Veterans Upward Bound grants nationally since 1972, but this is the first one awarded to an institution in North Carolina.

"We are pleased that the Department of Education looked at our grant request and felt confident that CCCC could build on the success we already have in reaching out to and serving this important population," said college president, Dr. Bud Marchant.

More than 87,000 veterans reside in the grant project's service area. Many are potential first-generation college attendees, low-income, or academically at-risk students who can benefit from this program, according to Dr. Brian Merritt, CCCC Dean of Student Learning.

CCCC will receive $245,086 per year for five years to serve veterans residing in Chatham, Harnett and Lee counties. Partnerships with Wake Tech Community College and Johnston Community College will provide the services to eligible veterans in those counties, he said.

"No group deserves our support for opportunities to learn and advance their knowledge and skills more than our veterans," said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. "Veterans Upward Bound grants will help prepare our returning veterans for college by providing the academic instruction, mentoring and guidance they need to succeed in college and in life."

The grant will pay for project support staff, provide stipends to the veterans, and cover other expenses as needed, such as the cost of college preparatory classes. The primary goal of the VUB project is to increase the rate at which participants enroll in and complete postsecondary education programs. Veterans Upward Bound is designed to motivate and assist veterans in the development of academic and other skills necessary for success in a program of postsecondary education.

The college's VUB program will engage veterans in a rigorous, college-prep curriculum, as well as provide them with well-rounded support for success in education and a career. The services will include needs assessment, academic advising, career counseling, mentoring, tutoring, assistance with college application/admission, financial aid information, and assistance with enrollment in postsecondary education.

It will also assist veterans in securing support services from other locally available resources such as the Veterans Administration, state veterans agencies, veteran associations, and other state and local agencies that serve veterans.

The support of county commissioners was important in CCCC's obtaining the grant, Marchant said. It demonstrated to the Department of Education that the communities understand and are behind efforts to reach out to veterans and help them be successful both personally and as contributing members of their communities.

"Support for the college's application for the Veterans Upward Bound grant was unanimous among the Lee County commissioners," said Linda Shook, chair of the board of commissioners. "We praise the college administration for being pro-active and looking out for the veterans in our community - this is for them."

While the college is fully staffing the program, veterans interested in signing up for the VUB can make initial contact with a staff member by email at veteransub@cccc.edu.