Federal grant will enhance support services for USF’s student veterans I USF News

Shifting to university life after experiencing the regimen and structure of military
life can prove to be quite the challenge for veterans enrolled as students at the
University of South Florida. To help ease this transition, USF offers services and
support for more than 7,400 veterans, active-duty military and their dependents through
its Office of Veteran Success (OVS). And now, thanks to a recent grant from the U.S.
Department of Education, these services will be enhanced.

The Center of Excellence for Veteran Student Service grant for $427,469 will be used
to expand the capacity of OVS, building on existing services and expanding the support
at the St. Petersburg, Sarasota-Manatee and Tampa campuses. The unit provides admissions
assistance, scholarships, career counseling, employment assistance, VA benefits and
health services guidance, and social space for interactions among students and with
staff.

The grant will establish an interconnected unit that aligns policies, processes and
initiatives across all three campuses while strengthening access for veterans in Hillsborough,
Manatee, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk  and Sarasota counties. Services will be more focused
and targeted to those students with the greatest need and will expand mental health
services.

“The University of South Florida is proud to be recognized as a national leader for
supporting student veterans and for our deep institutional commitment to student success,” said
USF President Rhea Law. “This grant provides an opportunity for USF to further invest
in our programs to make an even greater impact on this honored population across the
university.”

“This grant provides a greater opportunity of navigating the military-to-academic
transition where I can have a meaningful college experience from my earned service,”
said Todd Post, a student veteran on the St. Petersburg campus. “This opens additional
opportunities for resources and programs for our student veterans where we can feel
more appreciated for our service as veterans.” 

OVS assists in making the academic journey a smooth one for the nation’s veterans.
Services range from administering scholarships and guiding veterans’ understanding
of the GI Bill and educational benefits, to tutoring and advising, to courses on career
exploration.  The office offers an environment where veterans can study, connect and
socialize with other veterans to share this academic journey.  This peer connection
is invaluable to these students.   

“I am very thankful for our Tampa Bay Area Congressional delegation’s support in our
grant application,” said Larry Braue, director of the Office of Veterans Success.
“The grant presents a tremendous opportunity to reestablish high-quality services
for our student veterans in the aftermath of the pandemic. By reinforcing academic,
career and mental health support for our veteran population, we will be able to remedy
the unavoidable consequences of isolation student veterans faced over the last year.”