By Brendan Burke
The U.S. Department of Education awarded Grand Rapids Community College a $450,000 grant to create a Center of Excellence for Veteran Student Success that will serve as a hub for planning and delivering services to students who have served in the military.
“I was so excited,” said Valerie Butterfield, GRCC Registrar, about the news of the grant award. “It gives us the funds to do what we always wanted to do. It’ll allow us the opportunity to get a coordinator for the center, and we can also fund three brand new mentors for the veterans as well. The center will be in the Raleigh J. Finkelstein Hall where it’ll create a presence and help them relax.
Currently, there are more than 400 veterans enrolled at GRCC, and the college hopes that the number reaches over 500 in the next three years.
The center will serve as a point of contact, connecting veterans with campus resources including such as financial aid, advising, and disability support. The project also will expand its partnerships with state and local veterans’ agencies, helping students access benefits and support in the community. The Veterans Success Center will host workshops and speakers, and provide opportunities for the students.
“They can get information online,” said Butterfield. “They’ll get additional resources, provide additional information in the center. For example, community information on veteran housing. Plus they’ll be able to participate in activities. The coordinator will be there as well to help them out.”
Students can take advantage of existing services and benefits at grcc.edu/veterans