New program will help veterans obtain higher education, transition to college life

The Louisiana Department of Veterans Affairs (LDVA) has announced a partnership–the LaVetCorps program–with higher education leaders to open 30 veteran resource centers on college campuses statewide to help veterans returning from active-duty service to transition to attending college.

All four Louisiana public higher education systems and the private school, Xavier University, are participating in the program, which will be available this fall.

Each resource center will be staffed by an AmeriCorps service member trained by the Department of Veterans Affairs who will mentor student veterans in transition, and help them access federal and state benefits. The LaVetCorps “navigators” also will work with college faculty, staff and administration to increase awareness of student veterans’ needs, organize community service projects benefiting both on- and off-campus veterans, and hope to build a vibrant on-campus veteran community.

“These men and women are not your typical college students,” the LDVA said in a statement. “They have seen and done things that most cannot relate to, but we at the LDVA can, and we are finding ways to help them be successful in their academic studies through these LaVetCorps vet centers.”

More than 8,300 Louisiana veterans and their dependents bring in more than $185 million in G.I. Bill federal dollars to Louisiana’s colleges and universities, the LDVA reports.

Planning expenses for the program are expected cost roughly $98,000, the LDVA says. The LDVA will cover roughly $26,000, mostly through in-kind contributions. The rest would be paid by an AmeriCorps grant obtained by Volunteer Louisiana, housed in the Lieutenant Governor’s office.

The projected operating cost is about $520,000 per year. LDVA is applying for an additional $320,000 AmeriCorps grant to cover additional costs.



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