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Veterans Upward Bound Program to Receive Over $1.6 Million

Gadsden, Ala. — Gadsden State Community College has been notified about a grant renewal worth more than $1.6 million over a five-year period. The Veterans Upward Bound program will receive $327,543 each year through September 2027 from the U.S. Department of Education. This is the third USDE grant recently received by Gadsden State. The College was notified in July that the Upward Bound programs at the Ayers Campus and the Wallace Drive Campus would receive $711,663 collectively over the next year with a commitment for additional funds the following four years.

“The grants are crucial to Gadsden State’s ability to continue providing services to our veterans through VUB and to individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds through Upward Bound,” said Pam Johnson, dean of Institutional Effectiveness, Grants and Special Projects. “VUB is designed to help veterans meet their academic and career goals. Thanks to the grants, we are able to provide a wide variety of services at no cost to eligible veterans.”

Services include academic assessment and advisement; educational benefits information; financial aid and scholarships; assistance with college enrollment; career planning and exploration; tutoring services; computer skills training; financial management and planning; veteran-related workshops; and community service projects.

Eligible veterans have the opportunity to receive a monthly stipend by participating in weekly VUB educational activities.

“We provide veterans with individualized action plans that are designed to help them reach their full potential,” said Sarah Aultman, director of VUB. “We also connect them with many resources that will help them navigate life after the military.”

The VUB program has offices on the Ayers Campus and Wallace Drive campuses but VUB staff travel regularly to serve veterans in Blount, Calhoun, Cherokee, Clay, Cleburne, DeKalb, Etowah, Jefferson, Marshall, Shelby, St. Clair and Talladega counties. It’s one of only three VUB programs in the state.

“We recently added Clay and Shelby counties to our service area,” Aultman said. “We proudly serve about 125 veterans annually from the 12 counties.”

Although many of the veterans served choose to attend Gadsden State, VUB has also helped veterans enroll in partnering schools, including Jacksonville State University, University of Alabama at Birmingham and Lawson State Community College.

“We are proud that 86 percent of veterans who successfully complete their VUB educational program enroll at a postsecondary education institution,” she said.

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