The University of Kansas (KU) is home to one of 61 TRIO programs in the country with the specific charge of equipping veterans who are first-generation and/or low-income with the requirements, skills, and motivation needed to enter and succeed in their educational path after military service. Serving veterans in the greater Kansas City area, KU TRIO Veterans Upward Bound (VUB) provides services throughout Jackson, Cass, and Clay counties in Missouri and Wyandotte, Leavenworth, and Douglas counties in Kansas.
Chandler Hines knows first-hand the benefit of having an educational program tailored specifically for veterans after their service in the military. Inspired by his grandfather who was a Vietnam veteran, Chandler decided to enlist in the U.S. Army. He said that he originally enlisted with the intention of serving many years, and making the military his career. However, his plans changed and as he puts it, “Life Happens!” After separating from the service, he focused on getting his bearings as a civilian, which he said was not easy. “I did a complete 180 [from taking orders] and I didn’t always know what to do.” To help him with this transition, he took advantage of the VUB program. He said he initially approached VUB because he knew he wanted to enroll in college and earn his Bachelor’s degree, but needed assistance getting started.
Chandler knew he needed to “brush off the cobwebs” and refresh his math and science skills to attend college. After all, it had been almost seven years since he was a student. One of his coworkers, also a former service member, told him about a TRIO program that supports veterans. VUB is an education and skills program that provides free services to assist eligible veterans interested in furthering their education. The services are tailored to the needs and interests of each participant.
For Chandler, these services first took the form of an academic assessment provided by Lisa Schley, an Academic Adviser for VUB. “I met with Lisa and she gave me a test on math and language arts,” he said. Using the results of the diagnostic test, Lisa enrolled Chandler in a course to help him get ready for college-level material. The course was entirely online and self-paced, which suited his needs as a working adult. Chandler appreciated the online academic support and plans to continue using the platform as he prepares to enroll at the University of Kansas as a full-time student in January 2020.
Although his transition from military life to a civilian college student is a serious adjustment, Chandler believes that his military experience has prepared him well for one basic, but incredibly important aspect of student life: “Waking up early!” The Army instilled in him “the discipline to do everything on time.” In addition to the skills he learned from the military, Chandler feels lucky to be going back to school with the support of the military-affiliated community, through VUB and KU’s Lt. Gen. William K. Jones Military-Affiliated Student Center. Chandler offers his support and advice to other veterans who may be interested in starting the path to college: “[VUB] helps you get back into it and learn how to learn!”