Praccess Veterans Education Grant

Funded by
Praccess
Learn more about the Donor
$5,000
5 winners every year, $1,000 each
Open
Next Application Deadline
Apr 30, 2022
Next Winners Announced
May 31, 2022
Education Level
Graduate, Undergraduate
Eligibility Requirements
Career:
Military Veteran
Location:
Los Angeles County, CA residents
Status:
Honorable or General (Under Honorable Conditions) Discharge
Finances:
Debt related to attendance at an accredited community college, 4-year college or university, or graduate school.
Career:
Location:
Status:
Finances:
Military Veteran
Los Angeles County, CA residents
Honorable or General (Under Honorable Conditions) Discharge
Debt related to attendance at an accredited community college, 4-year college or university, or graduate school.

For military veterans, the transition to civilian life is often filled with difficulty. According to the Postsecondary National Policy Institute:

  • Student veterans are less likely than non-veteran students to invest time outside of the classroom on activities not essential to the completion of their course as a result of parenting responsibilities, work, and other factors.
  • Student veterans report difficulties transitioning from a military style of technical learning and a hierarchical organizational structure to a university learning environment.
  • Military service members and veterans relocate often due to service, and these frequent moves make it challenging for veterans to establish residency in any one state for purposes of qualifying for in-state tuition rates at public institutions.
  • Student veterans frequently face mental health challenges.

The Praccess Veterans Education Grant is designed to help California veterans transition from military to civilian life by reducing the obstacles to obtaining and benefiting from a post-secondary education.

To apply, you must be a resident of California, with preference for students in Southern California. You must write a personal statement about your military experience, your proudest moments, and any significant obstacles you've faced.

Please also include the following via a link:

  • Copy of DD214
  • VA Benefit Summary Letter (If Applicable)

Special consideration shall be given to students with a service-connected disability, victims of military sexual trauma, combat veterans, and veterans who are experiencing housing insecurity.

Please make sure you have a profile picture.

Military
Selection Criteria:
Essay, Vet, Ambition, Purpose
Essay Topic

Describe your military experience (e.g. branch of service, MOS, awards, deployments, special assignments) and your proudest moment. Describe the most significant obstacles(s) to your educational and/or professional success and how can this grant help support your goals. Use this as an opportunity to tell a broader story and enhance the committee's understanding of who you are and what makes you stand out.

400–600 words

Winning Application

Marcos Alvarez
Rio Hondo CollegeDowney, CA
I used to tell my friends and family I was joining the Army for my education, not for your freedom. I planned to do my three years and get out with the GI Bill and my citizenship since I came from an immigrant family without means or support. Service seemed like an honorable way to earn my schooling and a rightful place in my adoptive country. I came into the service as a 52C, utilities equipment repairer, in July of the year 2000 wanting to get in and get out. Just after arriving at my permanent duty station, one fateful eleventh of September of 2001, my best-laid plans were crumbled as I knew war had been declared. Due to stop-loss and circumstance, I spent eight years in the Army—three and a half of those in northern Iraq. Looking back, those years of my life were the most heart-wrenching, proudest, frightening, and the best and worst of times. I lost friends and family on my first and second deployments, but I also gained ability, resilience, and a sense of self. Between the years 2003-2006, my unit received a Presidential Unit Citation and I earned two Army Commendations, two Army Achievement Medals, two Good Conduct Medals, two mechanic’s badges, and my United States citizenship. Though, the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal is my favorite as it is given to those who are first to enter the field of theater. I am awed at the memory of the long convoy we took on that trip from Kuwait to Baghdad. I can say we truly saw and experienced the country, with the burning sun, the desert “moon dust”, the people living in yurts coming out to celebrate the liberators, the lines of camels in the distance, and the helmets of slain Iranian soldiers piled beneath crossing swords in what was then a still living dictator’s parade field. However, my proudest moment came on my third deployment. I had become promotable and had switched units, but stayed at Ft. Riley and was deploying with a group of soldiers that had never gone overseas before. I had waited a very long time and worked very hard at all my qualifications to become promotable. Upon arriving in Iraq, I was pinned sergeant, and my friends that looked to me for reassurance now also became my soldiers. That moment was the culmination of my military career—I knew that it was time to leave and go on to do what I set off to do eight years ago—get a formal education. I had my GI Bill and the drive to learn. Unfortunately, I also had undiagnosed and untreated PTSD, a substance abuse disorder, a blown eardrum, an arthritic back, and sleep apnea. I had a hard time transitioning because of my conditions and I had many abrupt starts and stops to my education. Then, I found myself at the VA. I spent five months at a combat veteran’s inpatient treatment where I learned others had been through what I had experienced and felt the way I did. The VA gave me the knowledge and support to help myself and continue my care at Long Beach. I have also continued my education under the VR&E program and am pursuing a technical degree in electric vehicle and hydrogen fuel cell technology. Your grant will assist me in buying the tools necessary to work as an electric vehicle technician and prevent me from incurring debt as I continue the technical career I began when I joined the Army. Thank you for your time and consideration.
Maleah McCoy
University of Maryland Global CampusGardena, CA
I never expected to stay in the military for more than one enlistment. I initially joined the United States Navy solely for college tuition assistance, but it easily became so much more than that. Through my almost eight years of service and five different installations, the Navy taught me more about myself, responsibility, ethics, life, and dependability than I ever expected. As an MA (master-at-arms), I have had several different law enforcement jobs, completed many missions, stood many anti-terrorism posts and yet the most accomplishing position I held was as an emergency dispatcher. Although a stressful job, it was an honor to assist the public, and coordinate help for people in some of the scariest moments of their lives. Dispatching instilled in me great patience and calmative tactics in high stress situations and by far, my proudest moment was when I helped a suicidal caller, spare their life. As a veteran, I have held on to a lot of coping techniques, multitasking capabilities, and strategies that I learned from dispatching and will use them for the rest of my life. I completed my associate’s and bachelor’s degrees both while on active duty; but there were times I felt as if I had to choose between either staying in the military or completing my educational goals, yet I continued both simultaneously for 4-5 years. Although there were many long duty nights and days I wanted to quit, I am rejoiced I never did. Often, I’d hear, “I would never take classes while on active duty, how do you do it?” At three of my commands, I served as the EPO (Education Petty Officer) for most of my divisions and I’m glad I was able to be an example for my junior peers and superiors. Now, I am currently halfway through my MBA program and while I originally said I would only complete a bachelor’s degree, I am now pushing further. Deciding to not reenlist for a third term was in no way an easy decision to come to, however, knowing I had two degrees to utilize and fall upon, made my decision to transition off active duty, a tad bit simpler. Now that I am off active duty, I will complete my master’s degree in business and continue advocating for higher education for civilians, military personnel, and veterans. Upon completion of my MBA, I plan to open an eatery in Los Angeles, CA and collaborate with many veteran assistive programs such as New Directions LA, and America’s Homeless Veterans. Eventually, the even greater goal is for my business and educational background to help me pave my way into entrepreneurship and to become a veteran supportive company able to give aid to veterans and students in need. Overall, the seven years and seven months I spent on active duty made me a greater person and student. I will forever be grateful for all experiences and relationships I gained through the United States Navy and will use them along my post active-duty journey. As I continue my education as a veteran, I will strive to meet all my goals and continue serving my country, now just through a different platform.
Jesus Rangel
University of San DiegoChula Vista, CA
John Contreras
San Jose State UniversityMenlo Park, CA
I arrived in Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, AZ just after my schooling, and unexpectedly I was shipped out with the Harrier Squadron 211 to Afghanistan within the 3-month period. With my basic schooling as a clerk within my squadron, I was not prepared for the duties that I would endure. However, the basic training and leadership skills that I received in my preparation gave me the confidence and willingness to learn and keep striving. Therefore, during my title of becoming an operational clerk, I excelled and was set to arrive in Afghanistan in April 2012. I worked 12-hour shifts under my 7041 Aviation Operation Specialist trade, learned more about my job duties, and was promoted from Private First Class to Lance Corporal. While in Afghanistan I still trained physically, mentally, did my duties. Some Marines were sent home during the middle of a deployment, and I volunteered to stay and finish my responsibilities and helped train oncoming Marines on how to perform the tasks I had at hand. We were attacked by insurgents and I was hit with bereavement when my Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Christopher Raible was killed in action. I saw him like the dad I never had during high school. About 7 days would pass and my biological dad died of a heart attack and I did not hear about it until 14 days after we were attacked. And after that, I still finished my tour in Afghanistan and came back unmotivated to continue my career as a Marine. After those two years, my squadron released me of my duty by discharging me with a General (Under Honorable Conditions). Coming back home has given me the time to cope with some of my personal losses and given me the strength and ambition to move on and strive to help those in need of assistance. With having Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from the events of being at war, I worked security and slowly made my way back into school. After some time, I decided to stop working and pursue Education and Art as a full-time student. Later I would transfer from Foothill College to UC Santa Cruz, where graduated with Magna Cum Laude and was accepted to San Jose State University MFA program for Spatial Art. With that said, I have been teaching Art Therapy/classes at the Santa Cruz County Jail-Men's and Women's Facility with the Artistic Rehabilitative Therapeutic (ART) Initiative since 2017. Being a conduit for the inmates to find inner peace while creating art and preventing recidivism is our ultimate goal. Seeing them as family members as well as respected members of our society helps mend any open wounds they bring up creating their projects. Being an Art Graduate for Spatial Art here at San Jose State University I continue to volunteer in Santa Cruz, am a Student Art Graduate Committee Representative, the Sculpture Guild President, and work as a Student Assistant in the Woodshop. With volunteering, I hope to bring better cathartic avenues of approach, highlight the issues of mass incarceration, and talk about prison reform. So much is being said about what is wrong with America and there is not more being done about how we should heal America. I will continue to shed light on how we should start to inspire those incarcerated or even those who also struggle through mental illness to become leaders themselves as well as overcome any issues or roadblocks they may have faced within their past.
Juan Contreras
Mount Saint Mary's UniversityDowney, CA

FAQ

When is the scholarship application deadline?

The application deadline is Apr 30, 2022. Winners will be announced on May 31, 2022.