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FutureSTATE 2015 Progress Reports
ENHANCE STUDENT GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT
Initiative: Establish a Mississippi State Center for America's Veterans (MSCAV) to recruit and support students who have served in the armed forces, make MSU the university of choice for veterans and their families who desire to complete a college degree, and perpetuate the legacy of Rep. Sonny Montgomery of Mississippi, MSU graduate and author of the Montgomery GI Bill.
Achievements of the past year:
- The Center for America's Veterans has been established and is currently serving over 600 veterans, dependents and service members.
- The Center's staff has provided comprehensive and professional service to student-veterans, dependents and service members while providing them a welcome-home environment.
- The Student Veteran Association (SVA) has been established. The organization is made up of veterans, dependents and service members who believe in uniting together to make a difference. The organization will tackle issues dealing with current university policies dealing with veterans' education issues as well as problems veterans face when they transition from service member to student.
- The Veteran Support Group has been established. The group is comprised of veterans, dependents, and service members who meet each week with a trained counselor from the MSU Counseling Services office. This gives the veterans a chance to openly discuss issues they are facing with school.
- A full service computer lab is up and running with full printing capabilities. This enhances the on-line processing of veterans educational benefits.
- A full time Veterans Recruiter has been hired to actively increase the number of veteran students attending MSU.
- We developed folders, flyers and brochures for recruiting.
- The Center hosted over 400 National Guardsmen for Veterans Day activities and an all out campus presentation was done at Lee Hall to entice them to attend MSU. They also participated in the Veterans Day Activities during the halftime show at the Alabama game.
- We briefed the Veterans Services Representatives from Washington during their visit to MSU. They were able to take a first hand look at what MSU is doing for their veterans and our future plans. We gained their support and backing for programs that will assist veteran students.
- We participated in national and state level veteran associations. Lorene Cox serves on the Board of Directors of the National Association of Veterans Program Administrators and is President of the Veterans Affairs Administrators of Mississippi. We also held the first VAAMS conference on the MSU campus this year. We are also a member of the Southern Region Education Committee for Veterans.
- We developed a comprehensive military and veteran friendly website to promote awareness of the Center and facilitate the online application of tuition assistance and the GI Bill.
Goals for the next year:
- The registrar's office is currently evaluating military courses for college credit. We hope that by next fall this will be complete and the courses evaluated will be added as an MSU course in the catalog. This will allow veterans to know exactly what MSU will allow them for their military experience.
- We want to have a fully implemented incentive program in place for veterans, dependents and service members. We are currently working this issue. We have $50,000 in funding set aside and are working on the procedures for veterans to apply for this incentive.
- We hope to increase veteran enrollment by 5% (approx 30 students) by the end of the 2008.
- We want to provide educational and leadership opportunities to our students by providing counseling, guidance, academic advice and mentorship.
- We want our Student Veteran Association to grow to its full potential and have all student veterans here at MSU as members.
Constraints to full implementation of this initiative:
- Availability of funding to implement a comprehensive incentive program.
- VA funding availability for student veteran workers who assist the staff at the Center.
- Availability of funding for recruiting initiatives.
Proposed modification of the initiative:
Since the Center for America's Veterans has been fully established and a full staff is on board, our initiative statement has been changed to reflect the new and continuing goals of the Center. Our revised Future STATE 2015 initiative statement is as follows:
The Mississippi State Center for America's Veterans will recruit and support veterans and their dependents, make MSU the university of choice for all veterans, dependents and service members who desire a college degree, increase incentives for veterans, dependents and service members, and perpetuate the legacy of Representative Sonny Montgomery.
Overall assessment of the status of the initiative or other comments:
The current status of the 2015 initiative is that we are providing service and support to our student veterans and their dependents. We have worked issues regarding financial aid, housing, medical care, and job placement. We have developed and implemented several internal initiatives to assist the veterans and their families. We have provided outreach services for veterans in two locations within the state and we have two other events scheduled for April 2008. We are meeting the goals set by the president and the director and will continue on the same path for the upcoming year. We are working hard to become the best Veterans Center at any university. We are meeting and exceeding the goals set and we will continue to develop new goals as we work toward the future.