Austin Peay State University continues to be one of the state’s leading providers of higher education to military-connected students and their families, prompting the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to partner with the university through its VetSuccess on Campus (VSOC) program.
The partnership will put a VA vocational rehabilitation counselor on the APSU campus sometime this September to help veterans transition into student life and assist them in achieving their educational goals.
“VetSuccess on Campus is an innovative approach to help veterans in the often difficult transition from military service to academic life. “Placing experienced VA counselors directly on college campuses strengthens VA’s partnership with institutions of higher learning and creates myriad opportunities to help Veterans succeed,” Allison A. Hickey, VA’s Under Secretary for Benefits, said.
Partner schools are selected for the size of their student veteran population and proximity to a VA Regional Office, Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Service office, Vet Center or VA medical center, among other factors. Last year, APSU served nearly 2,200 military-connected students and 475 military dependents.
“At Austin Peay, we are always looking for new ways to help those students who have served our country. “I believe we’ve done a good job, which is why students with a military background overwhelmingly choose us over any other institution in the state. But we continue to push ourselves to do better, and this partnership with the VA will allow us to continue with our focus of serving this important student population,” APSU President Tim Hall said.
The new VA counselor will be provided office space on the APSU campus. That individual will maintain close relationships with local VA Vet Centers and VA medical facilities, referring veterans as needed for counseling or medical services and providing assistance enrolling in and applying for VA medical and nonmedical benefits.
The partnership adds to APSU’s efforts over the years to find new ways to support military connected students. Those efforts include establishing the APSU Center @ Fort Campbell, the University’s Military Educational Task Force, the Student Veteran Organization and the APSU Military Student Center.
APSU also hosts a Military and Veterans Graduate Recognition Ceremony three times a year. During the ceremony, veterans, reservists and active duty military personnel are given a red, white and blue cord to wear with their cap and gown during commencement. The students are also presented with a special APSU Military Coin. The University created the coin in 2011 as a way to honor these individuals.
For more information on the VetSuccess program, go to http://www.vetsuccess.gov.