Operation College Promise (OCP) is a national policy, research, and education program based at Thomas Edison State University in Trenton, New Jersey. OCP supports the transition of military-affiliated students “To, Through and Beyond,” their postsecondary advancement. Founded in 2008 as a web-based resource, the project was launched under the New Jersey Association of State Colleges and Universities (NJASCU) to centralize comprehensive transition information. In 2009, OCP was one of 20 applicants awarded an ACE/Walmart Foundation “Success for Veterans” grant.
The education of veterans, and those who serve them is the linchpin of the OCP mission. In 2009, the program developed and published the nation’s first resource manual for veterans’ service providers in the Post-9/11 era. The OCP Field Guide provides a blueprint for local, state and national support services to aid veterans in transition.
The signature Certificate for Veterans’ Service Providers (CVSP) program is the only nationally disseminated certificate program designed specifically for higher education professionals. To date, over 650 professionals from 40 states, representing more than 100,000 military-affiliated students have been certified. The CVSP training has been offered at ten different locations including Stockton University (Pomona, NJ), Ramapo College of New Jersey (Lyndhurst, NJ), Texas State University (San Marcos, TX), the University of North Carolina (Charlotte, NC), Texas A&M (San Antonio, TX), Ashford University (San Diego, CA), CareerTech for Vets (Oklahoma City, OK), the Association of Independent State Colleges and Universities of Rhode Island (Providence, RI), Armstrong State University (Savannah) and University of Maryland University College. The rigorous, 2 and a half day curriculum includes seven modules taught by a cross-section of thought leaders in the field of military education, including the American Council on Education (ACE); the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU); as well as representatives from the Chairman’s Office on Reintegration (CORe), Soldier for Life, and many others. Each presentation is tailored to meet the specific needs of the hosting agency and includes a tour with an “insiders look” at a local military installation.
OCP’s direct outreach to veterans supports the dissemination of information to our veterans and service members. OCP staff has regularly participated in the New Jersey National Guard’s “Yellow Ribbon” Post and Pre-deployment programming. Additionally, OCP provides updated information on existing and emerging resources through the OCP website, quarterly Mail Call e-newsletter, and social networking sites.
Operation College Promise
Office of Military and Veteran Education
Thomas Edison State University
167 W. Hanover Street
Trenton, NJ 08608
Wendy A. Lang, Director
Beginning in 20111, OCP developed a methodology – the Graduation Probability Indices (GPI) – to survey institutions on the progress of military-affiliated students toward a degree. This landmark research Completing the Mission: A Pilot Study of Veteran Students’ Progress toward Degree Attainment in the Post-9/11 Era was followed up in 2013 by an expanded study: Completing the Mission II: A Study of Veteran Students’ Progress toward Degree Attainment in the Post-9/11 Era which increased the size of the study to 23 four-year institutions.
Review both research projects »
OCP staff has frequently testified before the New Jersey Legislature on policies affecting veterans and their transition. For its efforts, OCP was awarded a Senate Resolution recognizing the program as a national model. The project collaborated with the New Jersey State Senate to establish the first Veterans’ Education Awareness Week, on November 13–19, 2011. This initiative was made annual in 2012 as an ongoing effort to educate veterans on their education benefits. OCP is also researching condensed degree programs that maximize the benefits of the Post-9/11 GI Bill while recognizing the skill sets of our military students in fields with potential for long-term employment. The first of these, “VETeach,” a streamlined teaching degree plan, was signed into New Jersey Statute on April 5, 2012. Other streamlined degree plans are being researched in engineering, psychology, business, and nursing.
OCP’s work has been featured in the New York Times, USA Today, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Chronicle on Higher Education, Inside Higher Ed, Military Advanced Education, NBC, Fox News, NPR, and CNN, among other national and local media outlets.