Transitioning into college life after experiencing the regime and structure of military life can prove to be quite a challenge for veterans enrolled as students at the University of South Florida. To facilitate this transition, USF provides services and support to more than 7,400 veterans, active duty military personnel and their dependents through its Office of Veteran Success (OVS). And now, thanks to a recent grant from the US Department of Education, these services will be improved.
The Center of Excellence for Veterans Services grant in the amount of $ 427,469 will be used to expand OVS capacity, building on existing services and expanding support to the St. Petersburg campuses , Sarasota-Manatee and Tampa. The unit provides admission assistance, scholarships, career counseling, employment assistance, VA benefits and advice on health services, as well as a social space for interactions between students. and with the staff.
The grant will establish an interconnected unit that aligns policies, processes and initiatives across all three campuses while strengthening access for veterans in Hillsborough, Manatee, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk and Sarasota counties. Services will be more targeted and targeted to those students who need them most and will expand mental health services.
“The University of South Florida is proud to be recognized as a national leader for its support of student veterans and for its deep institutional commitment to student success,” said USF President Rhea Law. “This grant gives USF the opportunity to invest more in our programs. to have an even greater impact on this honored population through the university.
“This grant provides a greater opportunity to navigate the military-academic transition where I can have meaningful academic experience from my earned service,” said Todd Post, a veteran student on the St. Petersburg campus. “This opens up additional opportunities for resources and programs for our veteran students where we can feel more appreciated for our service as veterans.”
OVS is helping to ensure a smooth college journey for the country’s veterans. Services range from scholarship administration and veteran orientation to understanding the GI Bill and educational benefits, tutoring and counseling, to career exploration courses. The office provides an environment where Veterans can study, connect and socialize with other Veterans to share this academic journey. This peer-to-peer connection is invaluable to these students.
“I am very grateful for the support of our Tampa Bay area congressional delegation in our grant application,” said Larry Braue, director of the Office of Veterans Success. “The grant presents a tremendous opportunity to restore high quality services to our veteran students in the aftermath of the pandemic. By strengthening the educational, career and mental health support of our veteran population, we will be able to address the inevitable consequences of the isolation that student veterans have faced over the past year. ”