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The Veterans' Pre-College (VPC) program supports Veterans while pursuing their educational, career, personal, and social goals. VPC provides intensive basic skills development, short-term remedial courses, and intensive individualized tutoring to help Veterans successfully transition to post secondary education. Academic subjects covered in the instructional component include math, algebra, pre-calculus, lab sciences, English, writing skills, literature, and personal computer literacy. The program also advises Veterans on career selection, postsecondary selection and application processes, financial aid and application procedures, and college life adjustments. In addition, the project staff assists Veterans in learning how to secure support from available resources such as the Veterans Administration, Veterans associations, and various state and local agencies that serve Veterans.


VPC accepts applications from military Veterans (except those dishonorably discharged) who are residents of one of the counties in the service area, who come from low-income, or first-generation households, and who demonstrate an academic need for services. Participants are encouraged to enroll and succeed in a postsecondary education and to participate in scheduled project activities.

Service Area

The VPC program serves military Veterans in the following Tennessee counties: Blount, Campbell, Cocke, Grainger, Hamblen, Jefferson, Knox, Loudon, Monroe, Roane, Sevier, Morgan, Scott, and Union.

Through the Years

As a military veteran, Dr. Ernest W. Brewer observed that there were no programs to prepare military Veterans from disadvantaged backgrounds to enter postsecondary education institutions. Like him, many Veterans came from poor backgrounds and went directly into the military after completing high school. Once they completed their tour of duty, most had little or no knowledge about how to apply to a postsecondary institution, how to receive financial aid, or how to use their GI benefits. In fact, many Veterans were academically unprepared to meet the requirements of college-level courses.

In 1989, Dr. Brewer wrote the first VPC three-year grant, which was funded to serve 120 military Veterans each year. He immediately hired Joel Coates as the project director, a military veteran who had just completed his graduate program at UT Knoxville..

Today, VPC can serve 150 Veterans each year with approximately 75 percent who are both low-income and first-generation. The majority of VPC participants enroll in a postsecondary institution, working to achieve their stated career goal.

Tammi M. Basile
Program Director

Since 1989, the program has served more than 2,700 Veterans in East Tennessee.

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