On Wednesday, November 13, in Washington, DC, Vassar president Catharine Hill participated in a Google event on higher education for veterans at which Google announced that it would grant a $1.2 million Global Impact Award to the Posse Foundation for the new Veterans Posse Program, which Vassar co-founded and began to pilot this semester. The first-of-its-kind program aims to increase the number of veterans who attend and graduate from selective colleges and universities. As the first partner school, Vassar enrolled 11 veterans this fall in its freshman class, with a further commitment to admit similar groups of veterans in at least its next three freshman classes.
President Hill praised Google’s award. “Our hope is that programs like Vassar’s initiative with the Posse Foundation will expand to other institutions,” she said. “The young men and women returning from military service in Iraq and Afghanistan have allowed our traditional students to go directly to college after high school without worrying about a draft. In return, we should now not only open our doors to these veterans, but give them the tools and support they need to succeed.”
Through its partnership with the Posse Foundation, Vassar is supplementing available GI Bill® and Yellow Ribbon funding to guarantee full tuition for every veteran student selected. Based on the Posse Foundation’s successful model, each veteran attends college as part of a team —a “posse”— in this case of fellow veterans, receiving academic support prior to matriculating and mentoring once enrolled.
As part of Wednesday’s widely-attended program, President Hill interviewed two veterans about their transition from military life to higher education: Ashley Parker-Roman, a Drexel University senior majoring in communications who served four years in the Navy, and Georgetown University senior Alex Horton, an Army veteran who was deployed for fifteen months in Iraq. President Hill prompted the two veterans to discuss how their colleges and fellow students received them, and to offer advice on the best ways colleges can help veterans succeed in higher education,.
Google also announced on Wednesday that its Global Impact Award program is providing $2 million to the Institute for Veterans and Military Families, Student Veterans of America, and Veterans of Foreign Wars to support data analysis of U.S. veterans’ outcomes in higher education. Google is committed to funding the expansion of whichever veterans’ programs are found to be most effective when the report is completed—whether it’s on-campus child-care, access to dedicated mental health services or physical gathering spaces. This builds on the company’s work to train and mentor student veterans through the Google Veterans Network.
Google is embarking on this effort to assess which colleges are most successful at supporting veterans. According to a statement from Google, “When veterans return home, a college degree is often a great next step for a successful transition to civilian life. But college can be a tough place for veterans, especially when they’re juggling classes with personal, family and financial pressures. Unfortunately there’s very little data about what can help veterans thrive in school. We want to change that.”
Read more about Vassar’s work with the Posse Foundation to bring veterans to the college:
Vassar Announces partnership with Posse Foundation: http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2012/11/27/posse-foundation-vassar-college-enroll-more-veterans
Veterans arrive at Vassar: http://admissions.vassar.edu/about/stories/features/2013-2014/130831-military-vets-arrive-at-vassar.html
President Hill’s op-ed in the Wall Street Journal on veteran recruitment: http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424127887324100904578402782896046740
President Hill’s op-ed in the Huffington Post on veteran recruitment: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/catharine-hill/veterans-higher-education_b_2093676.html
Vassar College is a highly selective, coeducational, independent, residential liberal arts college founded in 1861.