SPRINGFIELD, MO (11/10/17) - Helping those that have helped us. OTC has received a seven figure grant to help veterans pursue their higher education.
The U.S. Department of Education is establishing the Veterans Upward Bound program with a $1.3 million grant that will offer access for more veterans interested in continuing their education.
"The process is complicated, enrolling in college is complicated, requesting financial aid is complicated, and knowing how to use it is complicated," says Doug Carrell, who served in Afghanistan.
Fewer than 1,000 veterans are enrolled at OTC. Data from the Census Bureau shows that more than 13 percent of Greene County veterans live below the poverty level.
“This grant is about providing access and clearing barriers for veterans in the area who aren’t enrolled in higher education that are interested in enrolling," says vice chancellor of student affairs at OTC Joan Barrett.
The grant will fund the campus program for over five years and will allow the technical school to hire four full-time personnel to advise veterans with their education.
“A grant like this will help future veterans come into the school and get that help they need and get that boost they need to help them succeed," says Emmitt Barris, who served in Iraq.
Census Bureau stats show that only 28 percent of veterans in Greene County have a bachelor’s degree. Barrett says this grant will allow one-on-one help in navigating to higher education.
“And maybe there’s a deficit in math and English, we’ll help them get ready! Maybe there’s some digital literacy slacking, we’ll help them get ready," says Barrett. "And career exploration, we are here to help them.”
And wanting to see each other succeed, Barris says it is possible to get back to a civilian lifestyle. "When you’re going to school with fellow veterans that have the same agenda it kind of helps you out with getting that education done.”
To be eligible for the program, the veteran must have 181 days of active duty, have a better than dishonorable discharge, and demonstrate academic need.
OTC plans to serve a minimum of 125 veterans here on their campus, paving a way to a war hero’s brighter future.