A recent grant award will help Montgomery County Community College continue its commitment to support student veterans as they transition from military to college life.
MCCC is among 20 charitable or veteran service organizations in the Commonwealth to receive grant funds from the Veterans’ Trust Fund, a fund administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veteran Affairs. The VTF grants are funded by Pennsylvanians who voluntarily make a $3 donation when applying for or renewing their driver’s license, photo ID, or a motor vehicle registration. Additionally, the VTF receives proceeds that come from the sale of the Honoring Our Veterans and Honoring Our Women Veterans license plates, or by making private donations. Since the grant program began in 2013, a total of $4,532,860 has been awarded to organizations that serve Pennsylvania veterans.
MCCC will use the $28,575 to provide additional supportive services to student veterans through its Veterans Resource Center (VRC) at its Blue Bell Campus. The VRC provides student veterans with a place where they can meet and network with other veteran students and receive assistance from Matthew Benko, MCCC Manager of Veterans Services and Judicial Affairs, and Kathleen Bullen, MCCC VRC/SCO and Enrollment Services Specialist.
Similarly, MCCC has a Veterans Resource Office in North Hall at its Pottstown Campus where student veterans can meet with Charles Storti, MCCC Veterans Services Resource Specialist.
MCCC will use the grant funds for items to support student veterans, including video-conferencing equipment that will connect students virtually to the Veterans Administration, computer equipment, a security system for the VRC and an electronic awning for the deck area used for gatherings at the VRC, among other items.
“We try to build a community among our veteran students so they feel safe and comfortable on our campuses and know they have the support and services they need to accomplish their goals,” said Bullen, who has been taking the lead in Blue Bell while Benko is deployed with the National Guard.
MCCC serves more than 200 student veterans. In addition, the dedicated spaces for student veterans, MCCC has a Student Veterans Organization that meets and holds activities virtually and will be having on-campus meetings and events this year as students return to campus. The group engages in advocacy, education concerning veterans’ issues and volunteers with community service opportunities.
Over the years, MCCC has been recognized several times as a military-friendly school by G.I. Jobs magazine for its support of veteran-students and service members. In 2019, MCCC earned the PNGAS Guard-Friendly School designation by the Pennsylvania National Guard Associations. MCCC also offers credit for eligible military experience and training through its Prior Learning Assessment.