CNY Veterans’ Higher Education Regional Consortium

February 4th, 2013 Posted in College News & Events

An increasing number of returning veterans are taking advantage of federal programs and incentives to go to college and find a new path for their lives.  During the past three years, Cayuga Community College saw its student-veteran population grow 400 percent.

In January 2012, Cayuga Community College took the lead in establishing the CNY Veterans’ Higher Education Regional Consortium (CNY V-HERC), which includes representatives from 26 institutions of higher education located in the 13-county region of Syracuse’s Department of Veteran Affairs (VA), as well as federal, state, and local veteran services groups.  The Consortium is dedicated to supporting active duty, reserve and National Guard members, veterans and their family members with a coordinated response for their successful civilian reintegration to the region.  It is committed to advocacy, resource and information sharing and outreach, engaging veterans by utilizing their knowledge, insights and strengths.

According to Sarah Yaw, Consortium founder and Assistant Professor at CCC, “As Cayuga Community College sought to enhance its support of our student veterans, we looked for ways to tap into existing veteran resources in the region.  It was clear there was a lot to be gained by bringing all stakeholders–higher education, government, private sector–together to share ideas and collaborate to better serve veterans returning to CNY colleges and universities.”

Yaw recently spoke with National Public Radio about the circumstances that prompted a need for such a consortium.  An increasing number of veterans are enrolling in schools given benefits afforded to them through the Post-9/11 GI Bill.  Given the distinct experiences of these nontraditional students, there is a critical need for specialized services tailored specifically to veterans on college campuses, services not commonly offered to traditional students.  CNY V-HERC has developed ways to assist this unique group of students and is an excellent example of higher education’s positive response to the needs of America’s veterans.

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