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Hartzler Touts MIC as 'Exemplary Model' for Providing Real-world Experience, Reducing Educational Cost, Helping Meet Workforce Needs

By Jeff Murphy, October 11, 2017

WARRENSBURG, MO – Supporting the men and women who have served this nation, a $1.3 million federal grant enables the University of Central Missouri to establish the university’s new Veterans Upward Bound (VUB) Program to serve eligible individuals in a 10-county region.

UCM’s Department of Academic Enrichment learned this month that it is receiving funding from the U.S. Department of Education for this TRIO program. It benefits veterans who are underrepresented in higher education, and are first generation, low-income, and/or disability-challenged.

Veterans Upward Bound has existed for nearly five decades nationwide and is designed to motivate and assist veterans in local communities with the development of academic and other requisite skills necessary for acceptance and success in a program of postsecondary education.  VUB is the third TRIO program offered at the university.  Unlike UCM’s Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Program and Student Support Services, VUB serves individuals who are not enrolled at the university.

“The Veterans Upward Bound program provides assessment and enhancement of basic skills through counseling, mentoring, tutoring and academic instruction,” said Chris Stockdale, a military veteran who also chairs the Department of Academic Enrichment. “The primary goal of the program is to increase the rate at which participants enroll in and complete postsecondary education programs.”

Stockdale said total funding is over a five-year period, with UCM receiving approximately $263,000 this year toward the total grant award. The university must successfully complete the renewal process annually to continue the program. UCM’s goal is to serve a total of 125 veterans per year from Benton, Carroll, Cooper, Henry, Johnson, Lafeyette, Morgan, Pettis, Ray and Saline counties.

“We’ve conducted a needs assessment and found about 20,000 veterans in in those 10 counties who have not yet enrolled in postsecondary education,” Stockdale noted. “Some of them have not yet completed a high school diploma, and many of them are living at the poverty line.”

“The idea is that if we can get them signed up for our program, then we can start to figure out what are some of their educational goals. Those goals do not have to be at UCM,” he said, adding that veterans must choose the institution in which they want to pursue their college education.

VUB will be housed in the Department of Academic Enrichment. Participants will get support they need in areas such as mathematics and writing that will help prepare them to succeed in college. They also will learn more about the enrollment process, how to look for and apply for financial aid beyond their veterans benefits, and much more.

“Most activities will happen on campus,” Stockdale said, “but if we have a base of veterans that we have contacted, we may use some of the local veterans’ organizations such as the VFW, American Legion, and VA centers, and we may offer programs out in those counties.”

Unlike other TRIO programs at UCM, he stressed that the VUB comes with a call to action. UCM’s immediate goal will be to reach out to veterans in the region to create program awareness. These efforts begin this month.

“We’ll go to events, set up a table and we’ll tell our story and what TRIO can offer them,” Stockdale said.

He said the federal grant will help the university cover its expenses related to personnel needed to operate the program and other costs related to the VUB program and participant support. Stockdale believes UCM was approved for the grant because of its reputation as a Military Friendly® institution, with strong support from University President Charles Ambrose and the university’s faculty and staff. This collaboration has enabled the university to establish the Military and Veterans Success Center, a one-stop resource for active-duty service members, veterans and military dependents; initiate the Military Tuition Package, which helps reduce college costs not covered by traditional military benefits; create academic course offerings and continually enhance its commitment to men and women at Whiteman Air Force Base; and establish the Command Pass, which provides active-duty military and veterans free admission to UCM athletic events. Additionally, UCM this month entered a Memorandum of Understanding with the Missouri National Guard that includes establishing a new cyber education hub to provide computer technology training for citizen soldiers at the Missouri Innovation Campus in Lee’s Summit.

Individuals who want to know more about UCM’s Veterans Upward Bound Program are encouraged to contact Shelia Schneider in the Department of Academic Enrichment at 660-543-4061 or email


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