WIU Receives Veterans' Affairs Grant
May 5, 2011
MACOMB, IL – Because of Western Illinois University's strong commitment to serving veterans, Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs (IDVA) Director Dan Grant recently presented Western with a grant of $74,998, funded through the Veterans Cash Lottery, to implement a Student Veterans' Transitional Services Program, which will provide additional academic, financial, personal and social support systems to student veterans and military personnel.
"The impetus for the grant initiative was a student veteran focus group consisting of veterans, reservists and guard members. They described their experiences as they transitioned from military life to the University setting and provided special insight for further program development," Kathy Meyers, assistant director of the WIU Veterans Resource Center, said. "This funding opportunity is important to our veterans and military personnel because the majority of this student population is beyond the traditional college student age of 18-23 years old, and their life experiences and individual needs often differ from other students."
Some of the activities will include early outreach programs to increase the awareness of post- secondary opportunities, expansion of the student veteran support network on campus and in the community and additional programming efforts that will enhance the opportunities for academic, career and personal success. A Veteran Success Leadership Team comprised of students, staff, faculty, graduate assistants and administrators will guide the program throughout the project's duration.
"It is our hope that Western's innovative program will serve as a model for other institutions to emulate," said IDVA Director Grant.
Meyers explained that as WIU's veteran student enrollment continues to increase more than 10 percent each year, the needs of returning soldiers continue to grow in complexity.
"We have been researching planning to implement this program since February 2009. The timely financial support provided by the IDVA and the Veterans Cash Grant will be the catalyst we need to move forward in these efforts," she added.
For more information on veterans support at WIU, visit wiu.edu/student_services/veterans.