October 8, 2013. Aurora Board Member Col. Tom Leavitt (Ret.) traveled to the University of North Carolina's Board of Governor's Meeting, held on the Pembroke Campus in Pembroke, NC. Col. Leavitt has taken trips in the past in order to update the Board on the progress of Aurora's grants to various schools. In the summer of 2012, Aurora gave UNC a $35,000 grant to create a website called the Educational Positioning System, aimed at helping members of the Armed Service navigate through higher education to find their best fit upon returning to school.
The site, made up of different interactive modules to help participants, would achieve the following:
· choose the most appropriate higher education opportunity
· navigate the admissions, enrollment, financial aid, and credit transfer process
· understand the available military educational benefit options
· transition successfully from military culture to campus life
· access on-campus as well as community support services and resources
· achieve success in school and beyond
· locate and utilize internship and job placement resources
There are three modules, which, upon completion, will help students better navigate the UNC system. The first module, completed in mid-May 2013, is called "Paying for your Education: The GI Bill and More." This will help them go through the GI Bill and determine which benefits best suit their needs. The second module, completed in mid-June, is called "Residency for Tuition Purposes." They will be able to understand legal requirements and the process for resident classification for tuition purposes at North Carolina's public campuses. The third and final module is called "Selecting and Applying for College," and was completed at the end of July. This final module will help students determine the right school for them, how to apply, and initial steps to enrollment.
Currently, the University of North Carolina owns the rights to this site, and will sell licenses to other schools seeking to put their information on the EPS site for veterans to navigate. Aurora saw the value in this site for veterans because there are currently no specific sites which clearly articulate the GI Bill and help military find a place in the higher education system. This site is free to use for military and their families, and allows each person who logs on to use it to create a profile in which they can track their progress from what GI Bill they used to where they decided to enroll. There will be no advertisements on the site, nor will there be any slant to enroll in a certain type of school, such as an online or for-profit institution. This site aligns with Aurora's goal to help veterans successfully graduate from school; in order to graduate, one must enter the right school for them, offering the programs and services which best suit their needs.
Lead by Ann Marie Beall, Director of Military Education, and Kimrey Rhinehardt, Vice President of Federal Relations at the University of North Carolina, the EPS site is well underway. Aurora is extremely grateful for the services of Col. Leavitt, as well as the UNC team dedicated to serving student veterans in North Carolina's schools.