Solicitation to Expand Veteran Higher Education Centers

The FY 2105 omnibus (PL 113-235), which funds the government through Sept. 30, includes $5 million to establish new Centers of Excellence for Veteran Student Success or CEVSS (CFDA Number: 84.116G) at colleges and universities. These centers support veteran student success in postsecondary education by coordinating services to address the academic, financial, physical and social needs of veteran students.

The program, which is overseen by the Education Dept.’s Office of Postsecondary Education and part of OPE’s Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education, hasn’t been funded since being created in FY 2010. OPE is working on a new solicitation, with public and private colleges and universities eligible to apply for the funding. The program provides three year funding awards, meaning the original centers that were funded in FY 2010 haven’t been funded through federal funding since FY 2013.

Centers are collaborative efforts

A CEVSS coordinates comprehensive support services for veteran students. A coordinator with assistance from a student support team operates the center. The team includes representatives from admissions, registration, financial aid, veterans benefits, academic advising, student health, personal or mental health counseling, career advising and disabilities services.

The coordinator and team monitor the rates of veteran student enrollment, persistence and completion, as well as develop a plan to sustain the center after the grant period.

Supportive services are keys success

Applicants for the upcoming solicitation must be able to provide a wealth of supportive services in addition to offering a strong partnerships among campus-based agencies. These services include:

  • Personal, academic and career counseling.
  • Tutoring and academic skill-building instruction assistance.
  • Assistance with special admissions and transfer of credit from previous postsecondary education or experience.
  • Assistance in obtaining student financial aid;
  • Housing support for veteran students living in institutional facilities and commuting veteran students;
  • Cultural events, academic programs, orientation programs, and other activities designed to ease the transition to campus life for veteran students;
  • Support for veteran student organizations and veteran student support groups on campus;
  • Coordination of academic advising and admissions counseling with military bases and National Guard units in the area.

Analysis: Previous grantees won’t be eligible for this funding, because the grant was meant to be a start to self-sustaining centers. Potential applicants can get a sense of winning efforts by taking a look at the list of previous grantees and researching whether these centers are still in existence. We found the CEVSS operated by Nat’l University is still in existence. The center, located Nat’l University’s San Diego’s campus, touts a strong support team and improved college retention and completion rates among veterans. Nat’l University is California’s second largest nonprofit institution of higher education. Those contacting the center for tips on creating a winning CEVSS may perform well in the upcoming competition.

Contact: Frank Frankfort, 202/502-7513; e-mail, frank.frankfort@ed.gov

About Frank Klimko

Frank Klimko is a nationally known journalist, grants expert and speech writer/speaker. He has years of experience helping nonprofits devise lists of the right funding opportunities and secure funding from these foundations and corporate entities. Clients have focused on an array of areas including child care, homeless, hunger and K-12 education. Additionally, he is a Freedom of Information Act expert, who has helped numerous clients with securing proprietary information from the federal government. Currently, Frank Klimko writes the Children & Youth Funding Report and Private Grants Alert, which are Washington DC-based publications. CYF is a daily publication covering Congress, the Education Dept. and the various federal regulatory agencies. PGA, another daily publication, covers the world of private philanthropy.
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