FDU Announces Success for Vets Grant, Yellow Ribbon Participation and New Veterans Education Taskforce

Teaneck, NJ (April 23, 2009) ó The Wal-Mart Foundation and the American Council on Education today announced that Fairleigh Dickinson University is a recipient of a Success for Vets Grant. These $100,000 grants were awarded to 20 institutions across the U.S. that operate model programs advancing access and success in higher education for veterans and their families.

The grants will support services to veterans as they transition from military service to college. The Fairleigh Dickinson University grant is to develop and implement an integrated veteransí services model to enhance one-stop support and expand capacity to provide psychological services.

Teaneck, NJ (April 16, 2009) ó Fairleigh Dickinson University President J. Michael Adams announced today that FDU will participate in the Yellow Ribbon G.I. Education Advancement program and eligible veterans will be able to attend FDU at no charge.

The Yellow Ribbon GI Education Enhancement Program (Yellow Ribbon Program) is a provision of the Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2008.  This program allows institutions of higher learning (degree granting institutions) in the United States to voluntarily enter into an agreement with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to fund tuition expenses that exceed the highest public in-state undergraduate tuition rate.  The institution can waive up to 50% of those expenses and VA will match the same amount as the institution.

"FDU has a rich history of serving veterans from all walks of life," Adams said. "Early in our history, spurred by the GI Bill, the University rallied around returning veterans and provided important programs and invaluable services. We have continued this tradition over the years and, today, we are a major education partner with the New Jersey National Guard, our University's Psychology Clinic works in partnership with the New Jersey Division of Military and Veterans Affairs counseling veterans and providing them psychological treatment, and we have a free veterans mentoring program for fledgling entrepreneurs."

With nearly two million U.S. military veterans expected to return home from deployment and active duty, the University is welcoming the opportunity to enhance its role in educating and serving this special population. "The imminent return and reintegration of thousands of veterans has moved FDU to rededicate ourselves to our historical legacy as a preferred choice for veterans," said Adams, speaking as an educator and a veteran.

In support of the Yellow Ribbon program, FDU has formed a Veterans Education Taskforce (VET) to develop a comprehensive model for veterans' services. The VET is divided into five subcommittees focusing on academic affairs, process design and systems, psychological services, outreach and communication, and campus and community reintegration.

Created through a directive from President Adams, the VET looks at the entire university, asking how veteran-friendly is FDU? The goal of VET is a comprehensive veterans-education model, including full support from the time the veteran enters FDU through graduation and beyond.  A new Office of Veterans Services will allow FDU to offer one-stop services, counseling and referrals.

This new initiative builds on three well-established programs. First, FDU has been an education partner with the National Guard Bureau (J3 and J7) since 2003. Through this program, FDU currently provides undergraduate and graduate degrees online to members of the National Guard. The online courses in the National Guard program include the complete Master of Administrative Science degree with emphasis on homeland security and certificate programs to assist Guard personnel to succeed.

The Center for Psychological Services, operated by the of the School of Psychology, has been a provider of mental health services to veterans and their families since 1983 through a contract with the NJ Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. The program, developed and directed by licensed psychologists, provides assessment and treatment for post-traumatic and other stress disorders, re-deployment and readjustment difficulties, mild traumatic brain injury and other related issues. Services are provided to veteransí families affected by deployment related issues. The Center is developing a group program for wives of deployed troops as well as a play therapy group for children of returning veterans. The program has provided individual, family and couplesí treatment to nearly 250 combat veterans to date.

Finally, the free Veteran Mentor Program at FDUís Rothman Institute of Entrepreneurial Studies focuses on the opportunities and challenges in starting and growing oneís own business. Developed by a Vietnam veteran and staffed with skilled mentors, each veteran is assigned a mentor who serves as a coach and sounding board as the veteran goes through the steps to entrepreneurship. The program makes use of the Instituteís extensive resources in academic and outreach programs as well as outside resources.

As a result of FDUís veterans education experience, the university is taking a leadership position to help academic advisors evaluate for credit military educational experiences and occupational specializations of veterans. On April 17, FDU is sponsoring and hosting a training workshop for higher education employees in New Jersey. The workshop will feature a representative of the American Council on Education Military Programs Office.

For Immediate Release

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