February 2010, Volume 14, Number 1

Academics

Serving those who have served: Grant aids student veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan

Illustration of soldiers

In an effort to ease the transition to civilian life for student veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, the Dade Community Foundation recently awarded the Wolfson Campus with a $75,000 grant sponsored by the Florida BRAIVE Fund dedicated to veteran services. The PAVE program (Pathways to Assimilation and Veteran Education) provides outreach not only for veterans but for their families as well. Student veterans enrolled at MDC or seeking to enroll have access to Individualized Education Plans, admissions and enrollment counseling, and career development plans, among other services.

"The great thing about the grant is that, when a student veteran comes, they automatically have someone here who can assist them with the admissions process, with financial aid, with testing and career development, so it’s like a one-stop concept where students can just come and be heard," said William Soto, director of Transition Programs at the Wolfson Campus.

Soto said that often the most difficult part of assimilation for veterans is the transition period, when they’re evaluating what their next step will be. Whether student veterans choose to pursue further education or employment options, the PAVE program makes it possible for them to have an advisor every step of the way.

Out of the 948 veterans attending MDC this term, 138 of them are at the Wolfson Campus, and the program is currently serving 89. In order to reach their goal of serving 300 students, Soto is planning to spread awareness of the program throughout the College. While the grant was awarded to the Campus as part of the BRAIVE network, student veterans can receive assistance for classes at any of the school campuses.

— NM


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