SUNY Old Westbury to create Center of Excellence for Veteran Student Success

American flag in background with profile of student holding books

First-Ever Award in New York via the U.S. Department of Education grant program

The State University of New York at Old Westbury’s commitment to veteran student success has received a boost thanks to a U.S. Department of Education grant via its Centers of Excellence for Veteran Student Success program.  

The first grant from this funding program ever awarded to a campus in New York State, the grant award totals more than $538,000 and will be used to establish a Center of Excellence for Veteran Student Success (CEVSS) on the College’s Nassau County campus. The awarded amount will be paid out over three years.

“Some 150,000 military veterans live in Nassau, Suffolk and Queens counties,” said Dr. Duncan Quarless, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs, citing statistics from the National Center for Veterans Analysis and Statistics. “Our goal is to ensure they know college is a viable path for them to follow and then to promote their skill development so that they can succeed both while they are with us as students and after they graduate and move on to the lives and careers they seek for themselves.”

The Old Westbury CEVSS will increase the enrollment of veteran students, enhance the understanding and success of the veteran cohort on campus, and contribute to systemic change for this student population over time.  Additionally, funding will support veteran employment on campus and for programming to support financial literacy, wellness and mental health and resources for career planning and personal exploration

“Our chief goal will be to ensure veterans have access to the life-altering impacts a college degree can have for them and their families,” said Dr. Cristina Notaro, assistant provost for student success and administration and the principal investigator for the funded program. “We’ll do that by reaching out in the community, enhancing our own policies, and identifying and mitigating obstacles that impede veteran student success.”

Through the CEVSS, the College will seek to partner with veteran organizations to form a network of support while offering these organizations guidance and resources to promote access to higher education for veterans.

The grant funding will enable SUNY Old Westbury to hire two staff members. The first will coordinate the overall set of programs and services of the CEVSS and conduct outreach to community organizations and services focused on Long Island’s veteran community. The second to serve as the Veteran Student Success Coach who will be responsible for veteran student advising, financial counseling, academic interventions, veteran programming and more.

Student Achievement