May 31, 2012

SUNY Empire State College Receives Grant to Support Women Veterans

Jewish Foundation for Education of Women Supports New Graduate Certificate in Veterans’ Services

(SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – May 31, 2012) The Jewish Foundation for Education of Women has approved a $20,000 grant for the Empire State College Foundation for the purpose of providing financial support to four female veterans, or female family members of veterans, who are pursuing an advanced certificate in veterans’ services at the college through the School for Graduate Studies.

“Empire State College is ahead of other schools in thinking about how to do this work and to do it well,” said JFEW Executive Director Elizabeth Leiman Kraiem. “We were pleased to see its recognition as a national model by the American Council of Education, and to include Empire State among our SUNY partners.”

To be eligible for the grant, students will need to qualify for benefits under the Post 9/11 GI Bill or the Montgomery GI Bill, either as a veteran or the family member of a veteran; live in the New York City metropolitan area, including Long Island; be enrolled in the veterans’ services certificate program; and have demonstrated financial need as determined by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.

 “JFEW is an amazing nonsectarian organization that for over 130 years has been responding to the needs of women who aspire to quality education and meaningful work,” said mentor Elana Michelson, who was instrumental in arranging the grant and who developed the School for Graduate Studies advanced certificate in veterans’ studies. “These scholarships will help, not only the four recipients themselves, but the many other veterans they, in turn, will be equipped to serve.”  

“We are extremely grateful to JFEW for its support of female veterans and female members of veterans’ families who are interested in pursuing our graduate certificate in veterans’ services,” said Linda Frank, director of the college’s Office of Veteran and Military Education. “Individual goals that were potentially unreachable due to financial constraints will now be made possible through JFEW’s generosity.”

Michelson and Frank added that they are particularly grateful to Jim McDonough, who made the initial contact with JFEW on behalf of the college. Previously director of the New York State Division of Veterans Affairs, McDonough was responsible for locating a VA counselor at the college in Saratoga Springs. Subsequently, as director of the Veterans Outreach Center in Rochester, he worked closely with the Rochester community and Empire State College to support veterans in that region. Now with the NYS Health Foundation in NYC, McDonough continues to make valuable connections for the college, Frank noted.

The college has a three-pronged plan for recruiting women students in the veterans’ services program in New York City and Long Island:

1.  Raise awareness of the program among the college's alumni who are veterans, military personnel and current graduate students. There are more than 900 individuals in this group, as well as a student veterans and military club with approximately 100 members who interact primarily online.

2.  Reach out to graduate social-work and public-health programs at area institutions such as Hunter College and the University at Stony Brook.

3.  Connect with local veterans’ centers and veterans’ websites. In addition to students who are veterans, another potential population is the family members of veterans who would bring their own personal insight to veterans’ issues and who do not qualify for military-education benefits.

New York state is home to more than one million veterans. The college’s certificate program addresses a critical need and provides a national model.

About SUNY Empire State College

SUNY Empire State College was established in 1971 to offer adult learners the opportunity to earn associate, bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the State University of New York.

In addition to awarding credit for prior college-level learning, the college pairs each student with a faculty mentor who supports that student throughout her or his college career. Students engage in guided independent study and course work onsite, online or a combination of both, which provides the flexibility for students to learn at the time, place and pace they choose.

The college serves more than 20,000 students worldwide at more than 35 locations in New York state and online. Its 63,000 alumni are active in their communities as entrepreneurs, politicians, business professionals, artists, nonprofit agency employees, teachers, veterans and active military, union members and more.

Additional information about the college is available here.

About JFEW

The Jewish Foundation for Education of Women (JFEW) is a New York City-based, nonsectarian organization helping women with financial need meet their education and career goals through scholarships and opportunities for professional development. In partnership with schools and nonprofits, JFEW fosters a community of women dedicated to education, professional achievement and who contribute to society.

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