Central Carolina Technical College will be able to serve 125 veterans per year for the next five years at its locations in four counties due to a recently acquired grant.
The federal Veterans Upward Bound grant will provide $263,938 per year, for a total of $1,319,690 overall, "in order for the college to prepare, motivate and assist veterans in the development of academic and other skills necessary for acceptance into and success in a post-secondary education program," according to a release.
Central Carolina Technical College operates in four counties, including Clarendon, Sumter, Kershaw and Lee.
According to a release from the school, the grant will help fund the program and several new staff positions, including veteran transition counselor, veteran academic counselor, administrative specialist and four part-time teaching assistants.
The grant will also fund expanding the existing Veterans Resource Center, college and cultural exploration activities and provide small stipends to veterans who complete various program components.
"The Veterans Resource Center is dedicated to providing the highest quality support to student veterans, active duty military personnel and dependents of active duty and veterans in an atmosphere that provides commitment and respect, and fosters camaraderie while stimulating academic excellence," said Vice President for Student Affairs Lisa Bracken. "CCTC’s VRC provides support with career services, academic and life skills workshops, tutoring, and a wealth of available college and community resources."
Some of these resources include referral services regarding Veterans Administration benefits, G.I. bills and community veterans organizations, as well as workshops in areas such as learning styles, test preparation, note taking, time management and stress management.
"CCTC has ample financial aid resources available to military students," Bracken said. "Active duty military and their family members are afforded in-state tuition status, which makes them eligible for a variety of grants and scholarships."
In the college's service area, there is a total population of 222,754 people, including 21,516 veterans. More than half of these veterans live in Sumter County, the location of the college's main campus. Sumter will also be where the Veterans Upward Bound main office will be located.
Sumter County has the largest veteran population percentage of any South Carolina county at 15.5 percent, according to the 2010 Census.
"However, the disadvantaged academic and economic setting poses numerous challenges in meeting veteran needs," Bracken said. "VUB will address these barriers and improve college readiness, access, selection and degree completion for veterans."
“We are excited to have the opportunity to better serve the veterans of our community," Bracken said. "The Veteran Upward Bound grant provides much needed funding for CCTC to partner with local VA offices, veteran-related service agencies and postsecondary partners to link veterans to educational and personal resources. Our goal is to assist veterans in reaching their personal, academic and financial goals."