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JULY 31, 2012

Three Rivers designated a servicemember-friendly school

Three Rivers College has been accepted as a member of the Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges (SOC) Consortium.

"Three Rivers' membership in SOC affirms their commitment to fair, equitable, and effective policies and practices that recognize and deal with the special conditions faced by military students," said SOC president Kathy M. Snead, in a letter to college president Dr. Devin Stephenson.

"This will give us an opportunity to better assist our growing veteran population," said Laura Milligan, Director of Financial Aid at Three Rivers. "I am very excited."

SOC Consortium colleges serve the National Guard, reserves, new recruits and veterans, in addition to more than 500,000 active-duty servicemembers.

"The SOC designation is like a memorandum of understanding between colleges and veterans," said Milligan. "Three Rivers is letting veterans and their dependents, as well as other colleges and the community, know that we are military-friendly, and that we will work for and with our veterans to ensure a smooth transition from the military life to college life."

According to Milligan, the SOC Consortium has principles and criteria in place that are designed to assist veterans and military personnel with applying for financial aid, registering for classes, and other tasks necessary to attend college. As an SOC institution, Three Rivers fits these criteria.

"One of these principles is that the college will recognize training or experiences that servicemembers have already undergone, and accept that as class credit," explained Milligan. "For example, if a veteran or servicemember has already been through basic training, this would count toward certain P.E. classes at Three Rivers. If you've survived boot camp, you probably don't need to take the 'Lifetime Wellness' health class."

Milligan also encourages current and incoming students who are veterans or active military to call the Three Rivers Welcome Center at 573-840-9605, and set up an appointment to speak with financial aid and veterans advisor John Fuller.

"John will meet with students one-on-one to discuss benefits, financial aid, academic advisement and so forth," said Milligan. "John is a Three Rivers graduate and a veteran, so he's the ideal person for the position. Our goal is to make John's desk a 'one-stop shop' for servicemember and veteran students."

"The SOC designation is a positive step in our goal of making Three Rivers College a place for veterans," stated Fuller. "This is the first step among many to come for our returning and past heroes. I look forward to working with them in helping them gain their educational goals."

Milligan, Fuller and other Three Rivers staff are also planning special veterans' orientations for incoming students who have previously served in the armed forces. Other activities at Three Rivers that are centered around vets and military personnel include USO-style dances and special veterans' appreciation basketball games. For more information, find the Student Veterans Association of Three Rivers College on Facebook, or visit trcc.edu.
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