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Veterans Upward Bound



Our Mission

The mission of Veterans Upward Bound (VUB) is to provide supportive services to military veterans, guard members, and reservists which will enable them to enter or re-enter post-secondary education. Although our office is located on the University of Central Missouri, veterans in the program can attend a school of their choice.

VUB staff will help you understand the costs of attendance to post-secondary education, and assist you with the necessary paperwork and applications. We want to help you prepare fully, so we offer assessments to tell you where you are, and tutoring to get you where you want to be.

VUB staff can also help you find and connect to resources to help make your transition possible.


Do I Qualify for Veterans Upward Bound?

To be eligible you must meet the following criteria:

Be a U.S. Armed Forces Veteran, that has:

  • served at least 181 days under conditions other than dishonorable;


  • served in a Reserve component for more than 30 days;


  • served in support of a contingency operation on or after September 11, 2001.


You must also have one of the following:

  • low taxable income as defined by federal guidelines (Click here for current federal guidelines).
  • be a first-generation college student.

First-Generation students are often defined as:

If your parent(s) and/or guardian(s) and/or individual(s) who raised you, did not receive a four-year college degree (even if they went to college), you are considered to be first-generation.

  • been out of school for at least 5 years.
  • have a documented disability. (Does not have to be Service-Connected)


This is a generalized list of requirements, so if you don't fall strictly into this criteria, you should still contact us at either or (660) 543-8124, we would be glad to speak/meet with you and see if you meet the qualifications.

Our Objective

Meet our Staff


Tonya Kuranda, Veterans Upward Bound Program Director -Veteran

Tonya is an Air Force veteran of 8 years and a current military spouse.

She has a Bachelors degree in Psychology and is pursuing her Masters in Human Development and Family Science.

Her hobbies include: spending time with her family, reading, and watching a good movie.

Veterans are her passion and she feels honored to be a part of such a great program!

Favorite Quote:

"Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle."
- Plato


Shomarri Taylor, Veterans Upward Bound Assistant Director -Surviving Spouse

After moving to Warrensburg from Denver, Shomarri found a way to make an impact on veterans here at UCM. 

She enjoys baking, creating  just about anything, and making people smile.

Yes... she finds it hard to stay out of Hobby Lobby! 

She loves spending time with her three kiddos and absolutely loves her job.

Shomarri doesn't see her position as a job, but more of a calling; helping veterans rise up and succeed!


Favorite quote:


“Good, better, best. Never let it rest. Until your good is better and your better is best.”

-Tim Duncan


Denisha Campbell, Program Specialist -Spouse

Nisha was born and raised in Jacksonville, Fl. but relocated to Warrensburg MO due to her husbands military orders.

Nisha is working towards her bachelors in sociology and enjoys game nights and outings with friends and spending time with her family.

She has always loved the involvement with Veterans and their families and believes she can help bring new ideas to the program. Nisha loves that her job gives her the opportunity to assist the needs of Veterans in any way she can to help them reach their goals.


Favorite Quote:

“A year from now you may wish you started today”

     -Karen Lamb

Office Professional

Kenna Kinsey, Office Manager - Veteran

Kenna is currently serving her second year in the Air Force Reserves as a medical administrator. She is currently studying for her bachelors in Aviation, UCM's professional pilot program. Kenna enjoys going to the gym, cooking dinners, and hanging out with her mom.

Kenna loves meeting new veterans and as a participant she knows just how VUB can help other veterans like her.

Favorite Quote:

“You give life to what you give energy to”




  • Admissions assistance to a school of the veteran's choice

  • Individualized online and face-to-face instruction

  • Academic skills and refresher courses

  • Career interest and academic skills assessments

  • College planning assistance

  • Financial literacy and GI Bill assistance

  • Vocational Rehab and scholarships assistance

  • Referrals to outside community agencies

  • GED preparations; if needed

Request Additional Information About VUB

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Frequently Asked Questions


Does the VUB program at the University of Central Missouri only help those that attend UCM?


Definitely not! We will help any qualified veteran no matter what school he or she plans to attend. We will help you choose the best program and school to fit your individual needs.


Do VUB classes cost anything to attend?


NO! All VUB classes, books and supplies are FREE for qualified veterans.


What will VUB do for me?


When you begin the program you will work one-on-one with the VUB team to discuss your interests and your short-term and long-term goals. You will complete academic and career to determine your strengths and discover your interests. Then we will develop a plan to help you reach your goals.


Any academic needs can be strengthened by attending our FREE academic refresher courses or tutoring. Finally, we will assist you with the school application, financial aid, and/or G.I. Bill processes. We will also help you make contacts with other agencies providing services to veterans.


How long should I plan on being in VUB before I am ready to go to a post-secondary school?


The answer to this question depends on several factors, including your high school preparedness, your VUB assessment test scores and your internal drive to succeed. Do not shortchange yourself by planning to be in VUB for just a few weeks.


While some students may only require minimal work, other will want to attend VUB classes for a longer period of time. The staff can advise you as to how long you might want to spend in our classes. The VUB staff will also advise you when they feel you are ready to move on.


Does VUB provide financial aid?


No. Although all services, including our academic refresher courses, are free to qualified veterans, we do not provide financial aid for college or technical school. We can, however, help you with the financial aid and the G.I. Bill application processes, and put you in contact with the appropriate financial aid officials at your prospective school.


Can VUB help me find a job?


While this is not our primary mission, we can help you by providing career advising, resume assistance, and community resources.


Can VUB help me choose a career or school?


Yes. Using a variety of career interest inventories, your Advisor can work with you to help you investigate what career field might be appropriate for you. Our Advisor can also help you determine which school will best prepare you for your chosen field.


How is VUB funded?


VUB is a part of a group of programs called TRIO programs. These programs are funded by the U.S. Department of Education and serve low-income and first-generation college students of varying ages. VUB is just one such program funded by the U.S. Department of Education. 


I have a question not answered on this page. What should I do?


Feel free to call us with any questions that you might have about VUB. We can be reached at the phone numbers below, or you can email us at



VUB was there when no one else was.  Due to unforseen financial hardships, I almost dropped out of school.  VUB did everything in their power to find resources, scholarships,  and grants to make sure I stayed in school.  It was not easy, but they were right by my side every step of the way.

2021 VUB Participant

Contact Us:

Veterans Upward Bound

University of Central Missouri

Administration Suite 104

Warrensburg MO, 64093

(660) 543-8124



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