The Office of the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Minister for Defence Personnel has given ACU a grant of more than $240,000 from the 2019-20 Supporting Younger Veterans (SYV) grants program.
The grant – awarded to Pro Vice-Chancellor Engagement Professor Sandra Jones and Mr Matthew Wyatt-Smith (CEO, Australian Student Veterans Association) – is to assist ACU to create a tertiary credit mapping framework to enable Australian Defence Force (ADF) veterans to have their service record assessed for Credit for Prior Learning when entering and undertaking university-level studies.
The program aims to foster the ability of ex-service organisations and non-ex-service organisations to support the needs of younger veterans as they transition out of the defence forces.
The grant will support ACU’s innovative Veterans Entry Program (VEP), a pathway program the university launched in 2019. With this program, ACU was the first Australian university to offer consistent entry requirements for veterans, regardless of state of residence and study.
VEP allows for adjustment factors following two years of military service. Veterans are eligible to receive a selection rank in Queensland, NSW and ACT, using a table of equivalence for service undertaken in the different Forces.
Mr Wyatt-Smith said, “the VEP significantly reduces the ‘barriers of entry’ for prospective student veterans who are seeking to undertake tertiary education post their military career. This program benefits both the veteran, regardless of rank, and society at large, as these exceptionally capable individuals will be empowered through higher learning to contribute to society through employment where tertiary education is a prerequisite.”
VEP is part of ACU’s wider Student Veterans Support Program (SVSP), established in 2018 to support student military veterans as they make the transition from military to university life. It aims to provide ongoing support to veterans, from applying and enrolling, to timetabling and orientation, as well as academic, counselling and financial support.