UWF Military and Veterans Resource Center
The Innovation Institute’s Military Innovation Initiative inside of the Innovation Institute continues to work with MVRC to innovate toward the future. Based on the rising number of returning military members who needed to complete, or start their college degrees, we launched a Military and Veterans Resource Center (MVRC) which has become a one-stop shop with a core function goal of assisting students using their VA Education benefits to successfully complete their chosen degree program. In the past seven seven years, there have been more than 40,000 visits to the MVRC, well over 110,000 total transactions and $35 million in federal funds for tuition.
In the mid to late 2000’s several factors contributed to an unmet need at many institutions across the nation. Rising numbers of troops returning from deployments, base realignment activities and an increase in military-affiliated students on campus combined to illustrate the growing needs of veterans and their families attempting to attend college.
With military-affiliated students at UWF making up 25 – 30 percent of the total student population, UWF made their support a priority. A Military and Veterans Resource Center (MVRC) opened in October 2011 built on a concierge concept of customer service, a one-stop shop with a core function goal of assisting students using their VA Education benefits to successfully complete their chosen degree program. MVRC’s core function remains a priority today – helping students use their VA and military education benefits to complete their educational goals.
UWF’s MVRC has become the standard by which other veteran support centers are measured. In the past seven 7 years, there have been more than 40,000 visits to the MVRC, well over 110,000 total transactions (walk-in, phone-call, email), $35 million in federal funds for tuition processed and more than 110 staff (full-time, VA work study students, graduate assistants and social work interns). Additionally, Scaffolding techniques are now regularly implemented to increase the likelihood of academic success for all military affiliated students. Tutoring and mentoring are available to all clients. MVRC has developed a system of tracking all military affiliated students and quickly engaging any who are exhibiting signs of academic distress (Keep them in and moving forward). Students who respond to this engagement have demonstrated great academic success. Over the past four years the MVRC has hosted area veterans networking meetings of the Pensacola Veterans Support Organizations Network (PVSON). These networking meetings are held quarterly on campus minimize the silo effect between area veteran support organizations. In October, the MVRC’s Veterans Entrepreneurship program graduated its second class of veteran entrepreneurs – a program funded by a grant from Veterans Florida. The MVRC continues to grow its veteran support footprint across the panhandle of Florida and is directly responsible for UWF’s current ranking as fifth in the country as a military friendly institution in the country.