TCATs Crossville & McMinnville earn VETS Campus certification, increasing to 17 Tennessee community & technical colleges certified as VETS Campuses
Two more Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology – TCATs Crossville and McMinnville – have earned VETS Campus certification by the Tennessee Higher Education Commission, certifying their commitment to programs and services to help veterans succeed as they pursue their education.
The VETS Campus program was established by the Tennessee Veterans Education Transition Support (VETS) Act, enacted by the state legislature in 2014 to assist veterans of military service in continuing their educations. The Act details a rigorous set of seven programs, requirements and qualifications that colleges and universities must meet to earn VETS Campus certification.
Veterans and active-duty military personnel may be eligible to earn academic credit for their military training and experience, depending on the applicability of the credit to their chosen program, under provisions of the Act.
Generally, the Act requires colleges to prioritize outreach to veterans, allocate resources for their successful transition from military service to college, and successfully deliver services that create a supportive environment where student veterans can prosper while pursuing their education.
“We’re delighted that TCAT Crossville and TCAT McMinnville have achieved this important milestone and made their campuses even more welcoming to our veterans than ever. It is an honor to have veterans at our institutions. We have a duty to serve them as they served us,” said Regina Watkins, director of veteran enrollment and benefits in the College System of Tennessee’s Office of Student Success.
The new certifications of TCATs Crossville and McMinnville increase to 17 the number of colleges in the system officially designated as VETS Campuses – including all 13 community colleges and now four technical colleges. The remaining 20 TCATs are working hard to earn VETS certification, and the goal of the Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR) and the Office of Student Success is to assist all TBR colleges in achieving this designation by the end of 2023.
The Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC) administers the program, awards the certifications, and reviews the institutions for renewal of their certifications.
Specific requirements of the VETS Act include mentoring and support programs for student veterans; creating and maintaining a process for assessing prior learning that grants academic credit to veterans for transferable training and experience attained through their military service; conducting annual surveys of student veterans’ views, needs, issues and suggestions; providing special orientation programs for student veterans; special outreach to veterans, and more.
TBR Chancellor Flora W. Tydings has prioritized service to veterans across the system. She established the Chancellor’s Commendation for Military Veterans, which honors veterans in the campus communities annually during the colleges’ Veterans Day observances, and established a system-level veterans service office to assist veterans and the colleges. The 2022 Commendation awardees were also invited to attend last week's TBR Statewide Outstanding Achievement Recognition (SOAR) celebration, where they were again recognized.
“Our college communities are strengthened by the presence of veterans and active-duty personnel as students, faculty, staff and alumni,” Dr. Tydings said. “They and the experience and perspective they bring are an important part of the broad diversity of people and backgrounds on our campuses that benefits everyone. We are committed to serving them and I thank our presidents, faculty and entire campus communities for their work in ensuring that veterans are served and welcomed.”
Information on resources for veterans interested in pursuing their education is available at https://www.tn.gov/thec/veteran.html
Additional information on financial assistance, academic credit for military training and experience and other resources for veterans is available at https://www.tbr.edu/student-success/veterans-and-military-families-support
The College System of Tennessee is the state’s largest public higher education system, with 13 community colleges, 24 colleges of applied technology and the online TN eCampus serving approximately 140,000 students. The system is governed by the Tennessee Board of Regents.