Georgia Southern University’s long-term commitment to veteran student success has a boost thanks to a U.S. Department of Education grant. 

The grant, totaling almost $459,000, is to establish a Center of Excellence for Veteran Student Success (CEVSS) on all three of Georgia Southern University’s campuses, located in Savannah, Statesboro and Hinesville. The CEVSS goal is to increase enrollment and retention of the University’s veteran students. The awarded amount will be paid out over three years.

Credit: GS Media

“Our mission is to establish a Center of Excellence for Veteran Student Success at our institution,” said retired Col. George L. Fredrick, Ed.D., director of Military & Veteran Services.   “Our goal is to identify and analyze any barriers or obstacles we find that impede the progress of our veteran students at Eagle Nation. We look forward to continuing our support of the nearly 4,000 military-connected students at Georgia Southern University.”

Fredrick and his team will coordinate a Veteran Student Task Force (VSTF) with representatives from Georgia Southern departments responsible for admissions, registration, financial aid, veterans benefits, academic advising, student health, personal or mental health counseling, career advising, and accessory services to provide the best services for veteran and military-connected students.

In addition, Military & Veteran Services hired two grant coordinators; one for the Armstrong Campus and one for the Statesboro Campus whose primary responsibility is to coordinate the goals of the grant. Additionally, Military & Veteran Services hired one part-time person to assist with analyzing service members’ Joint Service Transcripts and to assist with coding veterans and active duty service members. The VSTF will also monitor the rates of veteran student enrollment, retention and completion, and develop a plan to sustain the Center of Excellence for Veteran Student Success after the grant period.

“Our approach will be to analyze current policies, to identify and mitigate obstacles that impede veteran student success, with the goal being to increase enrollment, retention and graduation rates of veteran students,” said Fredrick.

Specific goals include designing a seamless step-by-step process for prospective veteran students to navigate admissions and enrollment process; further engage Georgia Southern veteran alumni in outreach and support activities; enhance veteran support services to improve student academic outcomes, continuously assess, plan and implement at-risk student interventions; and conduct Green Zone training, designed to increase military cultural awareness for faculty and staff.