POSTED: Tuesday, May 14, 2013 - 5:22pm
UPDATED: Tuesday, May 14, 2013 - 5:37pm
El Paso, TX (KTSM) — The University of Texas at El Paso staff held the grand opening ceremony for the new Military Student Success Center, April 19 in the UTEP library to accommodate the unique needs of service members, veterans and family members at a single location.
The innovative facility is designed to create a center point of access to help assist more than 1,500 military affiliated students and their families.
In the academic year of 2012, the military attendance at the UTEP campus has increased the student population by 34 percent due to the rapid growth and expansion of Fort Bliss and White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico.
“We have a long tradition of honoring our student veterans and their families as valued members of our UTEP family,” said Diana Natalicio, president of UTEP.
“This center represents our continuing commitment to ensuring the success of each one of our students … and celebrates with them, the achievements of their higher education dreams.”
Service members who take advantage of the education benefits they have earned may find it difficult to process financial aid or subsidy through programs such as: Texas Hazlewood Act, Department of Veterans Affairs GI Bill, Tuition Assistance or even transferring college credits earned from military training.
“Counselors at the military student success center are very well trained to help students navigate the complex terrain of (tuition assistance),” said Dr. Michael Smith, Vice Provost. “By virtue of their service and sacrifice, often through multiple deployments, our military students bring an invaluable perspective to the classroom, to their fellow students and to the fabric of campus life.”
Students hoping to serve in the Army and attend school can enter the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps, which incorporates: Green to Gold programs, National Guard Soldiers or Army Reserve Soldiers. Today service members, veterans and family members add to more than 22,000 students currently enrolled at UTEP.
“The Soldiers in the ROTC program at UTEP are the military presence on campus, responsible for color guards, maintaining the nation’s flag, hosting the high school ROTC program and providing off-campus veterans support,” said Lt. Col. Alfred S. Roach, Army ROTC commander. “We teach officer candidates that part of their responsibilities of being in the Army is to support the community and to demonstrate that support through dedication and hard work.”
The UTEP outreach program at the Fort Bliss Education Center advises potential military students. Innovative programs of study accommodate the needs of military students who are integrated into a highly mobile work environment due to deployments and routine training. UTEP has increased the number of online and traditional courses to affectively serve this region’s military community.
“The physical presence of this center on this campus is a long term commitment to our long standing relationship with Fort Bliss and the military community,” said Natalicio. “We are keenly aware of the challenges and the needs the unique student population (Soldiers) bring to us. We understand that our military affiliated student’s academic success rests on a campus-wide support structure, and this military support center plays a key role in UTEP’s ongoing efforts to ensure that all successfully achieve their higher education goals.”