by Alana J. Mauger
To strengthen its support of the region’s growing veterans population, Montgomery County Community College will establish a Veterans’ Success Center, made possible by a $115,000 grant from the Collegiate Consortium for Workforce and Economic Development.
The grant enables the College to transform the “202 House” at its Central Campus in Blue Bell, Pa. into a comprehensive resource center for student veterans. The center will house various offices and programs related to veteran success from both the College and from outside agencies. Scheduled to open later this fall, the Center’s flexible layout will include a community area and a traditional-style classroom.
The grant announcement coincides with the College earning its fourth consecutive “Military Friendly School” designation from G.I. Jobs magazine, a national resource publication for veterans and active military.
Each year, G.I. Jobs analyzes more than 7,000 colleges, universities and trade schools nationwide to determine which institutions offer the best education, value and support for veterans and military students. The annual list recognizes the top 15 percent as Military Friendly Schools.
Student veteran enrollment at the College has grown by close to 55 percent over the past five years, with 398 veterans enrolled this fall. Part of this increase is from expanded tuition benefits under the Post-9/11 Veterans Education Assistance Act of 2008, also known as the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill.
However, the increase is also attributed to the College’s support of student veterans as part of its overarching Student Success Initiative. The initiative focuses on expanding access to higher education and increasing student success by implementing process improvements and support strategies that reduce the barriers for students to complete their education.
In 2008, the College established a Veterans Affairs Office and hired a dedicated veterans academic advisor, George Pannebaker. A veteran himself, Pannebaker also has more than 25 years of experience working for the Veterans Administration.
In addition to Pannebaker, key Veterans Affairs personnel at the College include Coordinator of Accelerated and Off Campus Programs Mary Beth Bryers and Associate Professor of Psychology and Student Veterans Organization advisor Dr. Ann Marie Donohue. They work closely with representatives from the Student Success Center, Financial Aid and Disability Services, among other areas, to ensure that student veterans have access to the resources necessary for success.
To learn more about Veterans Affairs at Montgomery County Community College, contact George Pannebaker at 215-619-7307 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For information about the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, visit www.gibill.va.gov.