ALLENDALE – Grand Valley State University received a $1.3 million, five-year grant from the U.S. Department of Education to establish a TRIO Veterans Upward Bound program, providing free academic support services to low-income veterans who want to complete degree programs.
President Thomas J. Haas said he is pleased that Grand Valley is the second university in Michigan to offer this program, which complements the university’s Veterans Network, a network of campus resources dedicated to supporting veterans, active service members and their dependents. Wayne State University is the other institution to offer TRIO VUB.
“Grand Valley has a well-established commitment to serving veterans,” Haas said. “TRIO VUB will extend existing notable efforts by providing needed resources to support veterans who are pre-college, or transferring from community college or other institutions.”
The federal grant will provide $263,000 annually over five years to serve 125 pre-college low-income, first-generation veterans per year from Kent, Ottawa, Muskegon and Allegan counties. The college access and degree completion services tailored to veterans will include advising and mentoring programs, instructor-led computer courses, course materials and supplies.
Jesse Bernal, vice president for Inclusion and Equity, said the reach of this program is significant in West Michigan, which has more than 65,000 veterans in the four-county region. Of that population, 8 percent are unemployed, 2,000 are homeless, and 77 percent do not have a bachelor’s degree.
“The grant enables us to expand our support of veterans in alignment with the university’s strategic priorities, as well as the efforts of the Division of Inclusion and Equity to ensure that we continue to do our part to advance the educational pipeline for everyone,” Bernal said.
Grand Valley has been repeatedly named a gold-level military friendly institution by the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency; details about the university’s Veterans Network are online at gvsu.edu/veterans/.