Most veterans who enroll in university after serving their country end up at community colleges or state schools, unable to afford many of America’s elite institutions. But the Veterans Posse Initiative is working to change that by identifying vets who can excel at top-tier schools and helping them get there. Vassar in Poughkeepsie, New York, is the first college to participate, enrolling 11 veterans in its freshman class this school year, and Google recently awarded the program $1.2 million to expand. Part of the Posse plan is to admit veterans in groups of about 10, so they have fellow veterans for support. The vets are given scholarships through the Yellow Ribbon Foundation, the GI Bill, and other sources, as well as help with childcare and assistance with coordinating their appointments with the Veterans Affairs office so that they don’t miss classes. In exchange, the colleges receive a more diverse student body—it’s not every freshman composition class that includes a tank commander and a soldier who earned a Purple Heart. “You can almost feel the patriotism of America in welcoming back veterans, and Vassar is only emulating that with this program and opening its arms to veterans,” retired Brigadier General Chip Diehl told Caitlin Johnson of the Tampa Bay Times. The Veterans Posse Program aims to expand soon to at least 10 institutions.
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