Behind JP Morgan Chase's Grant to the University of Texas at Arlington

The JP Morgan Chase Foundation has been stepping up its military-vet-related funding over the past few years. The foundation recently announced a five-year, $20 million commitment to veterans’ causes across the nation, (Read the full story here). One of the winners in this funding stream is the University of Texas at Arlington. As it turns out, the school wasn’t just a random choice for Chase.

As part of a recent $1 million investment in military-friendly colleges and universities around the nation, Chase gave the University of Texas at Arlington a $122,000 grant to provide various educational opportunity programs specifically geared toward military vets. One such program is the school’s Student Veteran Project, which is undergoing an expansion thanks to the Chase grant.

Maureen Casey, Chase’s Director of Military and Veteran’s Affairs, says, “By supporting educational opportunities for veterans and their families we will cultivate and empower the next greatest generation.”

So why UT Arlington? An estimated 1 million military personnel will be transitioning to civilian life over the next few years. Given that nearly half of enlisted military personnel are between the ages of 22 and 30, they're likely going to be looking for their next career. As it turns out, UT Arlington has one of the largest populations of student vets and active-duty military personnel in the state of Texas. And from 2007 to 2013, the number of military students at UT Arlington tripled. The Student Veteran Project is helping this influx of military vets transition between two very different worlds.

At its most basic, the Student Veteran Project offers free admissions counseling to undergrad vets that want to go back to school, but it’s a little more complicated than that. Military vets and active-duty military personnel face different challenges than civilians, whether they are transitioning out of military life or are trying to complete their degrees while still on active duty. The Student Veteran Project is based on these unique set of challenges.

Alexa Smith-Osborne, an associate professor of social work and principle investigator at UT Arlington helped develop the Student Veteran Project model in 2007. This involved researching the neuroscience and resilience of military populations as they relate to academic performance, graduating on time, and the actual launch of their new careers.

Smith-Osborne’s model sticks to the overarching military principle of “leave no soldier behind.” Help from veteran friendly foundations like Chase go a long way toward making good on the ideals after over a decade of war.