Tuesday, April 4, 2023

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley this week announced that Central Oregon Community College (COCC) will receive nearly $600,000 from the U.S. Department of Education to expand veteran student services into a Center of Excellence for Veteran Student Success (CEVSS) on the COCC campus.

“It was clear during my recent visit that Central Oregon Community College has an ear to the ground of what its students need to do their best work. COCC attracts some of the greatest numbers of student veterans among Oregon’s colleges and universities, so setting up lasting support structures is crucial to ensuring that these Oregonian veterans succeed in higher education and beyond,” Wyden said.

 “Higher education has the ability to connect student veterans with opportunities to thrive and build stronger communities,” Merkley said. “We are all in debt to our veterans for their service and I am happy to see the work COCC is doing to ensure student veterans have the resources and support needed to succeed. I look forward to seeing the great benefits the Center of Excellence for Veteran Student Success will have for the Oregon veterans at COCC.”

 The $596,000 for the CEVSS on the COCC campus will provide programming to improve student veterans’ social, emotional, and academic development with a specific focus on helping students at risk of academic failure. The center will be staffed by an interdisciplinary team at COCC comprised of faculty and staff who are veterans themselves or are experienced working with veterans, community-based veteran-serving organizations, and will also rely on peer-to-peer support among student veterans.

 “Central Oregon Community College extends our heartfelt thanks to Senators Wyden and Merkley for recognizing the unique needs and challenges facing Student Veterans pursuing higher education,” said COCC president Dr. Laurie Chesley. “COCC has one of the highest percentages of student veterans of any community college or public university in Oregon, and with this U.S. Department of Education Centers of Excellence for Veteran Student Success grant, we will be able to ensure Student Veterans succeed both in and out of the classroom. COCC will commit these funds to best serve our nation’s service members. We will expand our dedicated Student Veteran’s Resource Center as well as our veterans-specific academic, mental health, and other support and outreach services to ensure all Student Veterans feel welcome at COCC and can achieve their goals here. This grant is truly a long-term investment in all Veterans across our district.”