“Thousands of veterans exit military service each month only to find an overwhelming combination of emotional, financial, academic, and cultural obstacles,” said Robert Hernandez, Director of Veterans Upward Bound. Veterans Upward Bound (VUB) is a program at Truckee Meadows Community College (TMCC) that inspires and supports veterans to strive for a college education.
Since 1989, the U.S. Department of Education has funded a grant to the Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE) to continue TMCC’s VUB program. It is the only Veterans Upward Bound Program in Nevada and one of only 60 in the country. The TMCC VUB program service area includes eight counties in northern Nevada.
It’s a pre-college program, meaning that the VUB staff assist military veterans with their planning and preparation to enroll in higher education to successfully achieve a certificate or degree. Although, most VUB students enroll into TMCC, the program will prepare a veteran for any college of their choice.
VUB provides a “one stop shop” with academic skills instruction and tutoring, advisement, college enrollment assistance, submission of GI educational benefits forms, career exploration and planning, and referrals to other veteran resources. Another goal is to help veterans with financial planning to complete their certificate or degree without accumulating debt. All services are free, and tailor-made based on the individualized learning, support needs, and educational goals of the veteran.
Program instructors assist veterans to refresh and develop the academic and study skills needed for the opportunity to thrive in college. Along with classroom instruction, other learning options are available including online, streaming videos, and distance education. They offer placement test preparation and guidance about what college life will be like.
“The primary goal of the program is to increase the rate at which participants enroll in and complete postsecondary education programs — to help more veterans successfully earn a degree and enhance their quality of life.” Hernandez said.
The Need Is Great
“Eligible participants number more than 43,000 veterans in northern Nevada with less than a bachelor’s degree.” Hernandez added.
More veterans are now enrolling in college, but many need help with the transition because military structure is vastly different from the independent and unstructured day-to-day life of a student on campus. Additionally, many veterans have taken a break from their studies while in the service and need a refresher in basic English and math, and information and assistance with the college enrollment process. “Some of the veterans I work with have combat experience, and I’m always amazed that the biggest fear for some of these field-tested fighters is the fear of stepping into the classroom,” he said.
While the targeted services, programs, and referrals can support veterans who are undergoing the transition from military service to student, Hernandez insists that no two individuals are alike, and works with his staff to individualize how each can be supported by the VUB program.
VUB’s main office, includes a Veterans Learning Commons with a computer lab, career, learning, and other support resources. Guest speakers are often featured with onsite veteran service providers, a coffee lounge, and study areas are located at TMCC’s Meadowood Center.
For more information about Veterans Upward Bound, please contact the VUB office at 775-829-9007.