CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. — The Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC) recently announced that Austin Peay State University will receive $79,954 in additional funding and program support to serve veterans and service members and help them earn post-secondary degrees as a part of Governor Bill Haslam’s Drive to 55.

Austin Peay is one of 13 colleges and universities in Tennessee to receive a portion of the $760,781 in total Veteran Reconnect funds to support programs and services for student veterans at campuses across the state. The 2017 grant program is specifically focused on improving the assessment of prior learning for student veterans returning to college, helping them convert previous military experience into college credit, and improving the transition between military service and postsecondary education. THEC will provide technical assistance and professional development to Veteran Reconnect campuses around prior learning assessment (PLA) for veterans.

“In Tennessee, there are an estimated 83,000 veterans with some college credit but no degree, and we are committed to making it easier for them to transition into higher education and graduate,” Haslam said. “Veterans bring valuable experience and learning from their time in the service, and through Veteran Reconnect, we are helping them turn that experience into credit, earn postsecondary degrees and move into quality jobs after serving.”

Institutions receiving the grants are required to develop and implement new evaluation processes for translating military training into academic credit, while also ensuring that prospective and incoming student veterans have easy, clear access to the information.

“Austin Peay will use the Veterans Reconnect Grant to develop a system to evaluate military experience for academic credit to better support our military and veteran students,” Dr. Kristine Nakutis, executive director of the Austin Peay Center at Fort Campbell, said. “This will standardize credit application across the curriculum and help our students achieve their academic goals sooner.  We want to give them the credit they have already earned through their military service.”

Veteran Reconnect will provide funding from Aug. 1, 2017 until Jan. 31, 2019. Veteran Reconnect is part of Haslam’s Drive to 55 initiative to increase the number of Tennesseans with a postsecondary degree or credential to 55 percent by 2025.

For more information on what Austin Peay can offer veterans and service members, visit the Office of Veterans Affairs online at To find out more about the Austin Peay Center at Fort Campbell, visit