NC STRIVE, a consortium of two-year and four-year public and private schools; federal and state agencies; and advocates began offering conferences to administrators, staff, and faculty at institutions of higher education in 2015.  The purpose of these conferences was to increase awareness and knowledge about issues affecting Veterans and their families as they made the transition from the military to the academic setting.  The intent was to educate those employed in higher education so that they could provide any necessary services and supports or referrals to federal, state, or local resources.  In this way, they could assist student Veterans in their successful pursuit of advanced degrees.

During the first two years, statewide conferences were held in Raleigh and Sanford, respectively.  Because a number of professionals voiced their concern about lack of access to the statewide conferences, a decision was made to host regional conferences.  From 2017 to 2019, regional conferences were conducted, with the idea that more professionals could be served if the location was closer to their employment.  As noted in Table 1 below, the number of participants has increased each year.

Table 1. Number of Conferences, Participants, and Completed Evaluations Over Time
Number of Conferences Number of Participants Number/Percentage of Completed Evaluations
2015 1 200 64 (32.0%)
2016 1 216 80 (37.0%)
2017 3 306 93 (30.4%)
2018 4 393 129 (32.8%)
2019 4 530 103 (19.4%)
Table 2 provides data on the number of community colleges and four-year public and private institutions that sent representatives to the conferences.  Four-year college representation remains fairly stable over the years.  Representation from community colleges dipped this year, with only 34.5% of the 58 schools participating. It is vital to ensure that the schools with the largest number of student Veterans in the State be represented.  In 2016, the latest year that data are available for the number of student Veterans and military-connected dependents on the GI Bill in North Carolina, 15,678 were in community colleges, 8685 were in the UNC System, and 3,980 in NCICU schools.

Table 2. Number of Institutions of Higher Education Represented at Conferences
  Community Colleges UNC System NCICU System Other Schools
2015 23 14 11  
2016 30 12 8  
2017 21 14 11 6
2018 32 10 16 11
2019 20 12 17 9

Community Colleges

UNC System

Private Schools

Total Attendees