Jan. 22, 2021 GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Grand Rapids Community College will be able to enhance and expand the services it provides to veterans, using a new federal grant to create a Center of Excellence for Veteran Student Success to connect students with resources they need to advance their education.
The U.S. Department of Education awarded GRCC a $450,000 grant for the project, with the success center serving as a hub for planning and delivering services to students who have served in the military.
“Our college is proud of our West Michigan veterans, and while we have a history of being a veteran-friendly campus, we want to raise the bar," GRCC President Bill Pink said.
“Like many of our students, veterans often attend college part time while juggling home and work responsibilities. We’re focused on making sure these students have academic support and relevant assistance in tapping into the benefits they are entitled to. This grant will help us improve upon the strong program we presently have in place.”
More than 400 GRCC students take advantage of existing veterans services, and the college hopes to grow that number to more than 500 in three years.
The college plans to create a new space for veterans in a renovated Raleigh J. Finkelstein Hall, with a coordinator to oversee the program and three peer mentors.
The center will serve as a single point of contact, connecting veterans with campus resources including financial aid, advising and disability support. The project also will help GRCC 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 networking and social events for the students.
“GRCC has a history of honoring veterans, from our annual Veterans Day commemoration to events to build fellowship and community,” GRCC Registrar Valerie Butterfield said. “This grant will allow us to take that work to the next level, providing a dedicated space for veterans of all ages. They will be able to get support from the college, but also from each other.”
The center also will help with outreach efforts, making veterans in the community aware of opportunities at GRCC to earn credits for degrees or transfer and in-demand career skills.
Students can take advantage of existing services and benefits at grcc.edu/veterans
Grand Rapids Community College offers learners of all ages opportunities to gain credits for degrees or transfer and in-demand career skills leading to rewarding careers. GRCC was established in 1914 – Michigan’s first community college – and offers affordable classes on weekdays, evenings, Saturdays and online at locations throughout Kent and Ottawa counties.