Office of Public Affairs

Veterans Upward Bound program at USM featured on "207"

Veterans Upward Bound coordinator Aaron Dombroski

Veterans Upward Bound (VUB) is a federally funded pre-college program that provides assistance, at no cost (and sometimes with a small stipend) to eligible veterans who wish to pursue a college degree. 50 veterans are currently enrolled in the program at University of Southern Maine (the only such program located in Maine, and only one of two in New England).

Veterans Upward BoundRecently reporter Rob Nesbitt for WCSH6 News Center Maine's news show "207" visited the VUB office at USM and interviewed program coordinator Aaron Dombroski, himself a veteran, as well as advisor Emily Brighi and two program members -- Army veteran Jordan Smith who's attending USM and Coast Guard veteran Christopher Wheeler who's attending the online program at University of Maine Farmington.

Veterans Upward Bound is designed to develop the academic and personal skills necessary for veterans to gain admission into the post-secondary program of their choice, providing advising, mentoring, tutoring and instruction required for gaining entrance to college. Assistance includes everything from helping veterans to catch up on actual coursework (such as polishing off rusty math skills), to filling out college applications, to obtaining financial aid and scholarships, and potentially figuring out prior learning assessment (applying previous military experience towards courses).

The year-round individualized assistance can take place online or in person and is flexible. "Our goal is to make sure veterans are prepared for admission to the program of their choice. For veterans thinking about college, or beginning the application process, we can help get them ready," said Dombroski. 

USM President Glenn Cummings said, "At the University of Southern Maine, we have nearly 350 student veterans — the highest number of any college or university in Maine — and we’ve made it our mission to help them achieve and excel in their academic goals. We're pleased to be hosting Veterans Upward Bound on our campus, helping to prepare those who have served our country with the ability to pursue their dreams, whether here at USM or any institution of higher learning."

To find out more about the program, veterans or those who would like to refer someone, can go to the Veterans Upward Bound website and either fill out an interest form, or apply.

For the entire interview, view "207" here.