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Veterans Upward Bound provides educational tools, opportunities for military community

October 10, 2012

There is an elite group of individuals who walk the streets of our city each day after sacrificing their lives to protect the very land we sometimes take for granted. Now civilians, this population seeks to jump-start the education they postponed.

To help with this transition, Veterans Upward Bound (VUB), located on ASU's Tempe campus, offers veterans across Phoenix the opportunity to improve their academic skills in English, reading, math and computer literacy at no cost. The participants do not have to be current ASU students or have any prior post-secondary education to take advantage of the program that is funded directly by a grant from the U. S. Department of Education. Eligibility requirements simply ask that individuals qualify as low-income and have been honorably discharged from service. 

However, because VUB is located on campus, all participants receive an I.D. card that may be used to access the ASU Libraries, Sun Devil Fitness Complex, athletic events and more.  

“Most veterans want to do better than minimum wage jobs. The only way to do that is to get skilled,” said Marcus Wright, retention specialist at VUB. “We want vets to know there is a program here that will help them build and enhance their educational skills for free so they can go to college.”

The staff will first administer an assessment test to evaluate a student’s educational skills. This will, in turn, tell the staff which refresher classes the individual should begin taking. Based on the individuals desired career, the staff will work to get the vets at the entry level for that particular major. For those unsure of their career path, the center offers free career advising.

Refresher courses in mathematics range from basic math to pre-calculus, and are taught by United States Air Force veteran Frank Evans. Writing courses are also available to help students with essay writing and basic English competency, and are taught by Carole Lorenz, a former elementary school teacher.

But VUB is more than just a program or classes. Students enter into a support system – a family, if you will. As Lorenz explains, the small class sizes allow for group interaction in which everyone works together and no one is put on the spot. Each lesson is an open forum for honest discussion. Lorenz says that last year the VUB community even spent Thanksgiving together because of the bond they shared.

“This is the perfect place because the staff all come from different places in education and can offer different suggestions,” said Lorenz. “The vets share their lives, their loves, the good, the bad, etc. They take you into their confidence. I would never give that up.”

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