Community college earns gold-level recognition for veteran accessibility

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Courtesy Grand Rapids Community College

Grand Rapids Community College (GRCC) leveled up its veteran services, leading to recognition by a state agency.

GRCC recently said it was named a gold-level college by the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency, reflecting the campus’ commitment to helping student veterans gain the support and education they need to be successful.

The Michigan Veteran-Friendly Schools Program recognizes academic institutions committed to supporting student veterans. Colleges and universities are awarded gold-, silver- and bronze-level status based on their veteran-centric services and programs.

GRCC was a silver-level college in the past. The college’s new Veterans Center and the work of staff to support student veterans helped the college earn its new status.

“We are incredibly proud of our student veterans,” said Valerie Butterfield, GRCC registrar. “GRCC has a long history of being a veteran-friendly campus, and our new Veterans Center has helped us provide even more support. The gold-level status reflects our commitment and our focus on finding even more ways to help veterans transition to college and be successful.”

In January 2021, the U.S. Education Department awarded the college a grant for the creation of the Veterans Center, which serves as a hub specifically for veteran students.

The center, on Level G2 of Raleigh J. Finkelstein Hall, is staffed by Veteran Success Coordinator Patrick Coleman, who connects veterans with campus resources, including financial aid, advising and disability support.

The Veterans Center hosts workshops and events and provides opportunities for networking and social interaction. It also provides a range of student services such as one-on-one advising, Veterans Administration work-study positions, connections to tutoring and academic support, assistance in completing the Veterans Affairs education benefits process and peer support, outreach, and resources for student veterans through Peer Advisors for Veteran Education.

GRCC also offers a Veteran2Veteran program that provides peer support, outreach and resources for student veterans, which includes veterans supporting each other through the transition to college.

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