The U.S. Department of Education awarded Ozarks Technical Community College a $1.3 million grant to help veterans pursue postsecondary education.
College officials announced the five-year federal Trio Program grant this morning ahead of Veterans Day tomorrow.
“Members of our military have dedicated their lives to our country. Their sacrifice meant putting their educational and career opportunities on hold,” OTC Chancellor Hal Higdon said in a news release. “This grant will help veterans prepare for college and provide the academic and financial aid guidance necessary to earn a college credential and enter the workforce.”
Specifically, the grant funding will allow OTC to create a Veterans Upward Bound program providing advice, academic support, referrals to community resources, financial aid guidance and benefits counseling to area veterans. OTC’s goal is to aid a minimum of 125 veterans each year during the extent of the five-year grant period.
OTC will hire four full-time employees to administer the grant and the school’s outreach, adult education and advising services, as well as two part-time tutors.
The release cited U.S. Census Bureau data showing only 28 percent of veterans in Greene County have obtained a bachelor’s degree. More than 13 percent of the county’s vets live below the poverty line.
“Many veterans return to civilian life and find it difficult to parlay the skills and experiences they’ve had in the military into life as a college student or a meaningful career,” said Loren Lundstrom, OTC dean of student development and a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel, in the release. “This grant funding will allow OTC to give these veterans one-on-one help to navigate higher education, their veterans’ benefits and get them into fulfilling occupations.”
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