Editor’s note: Jerry Quinn is the Military & Veteran Program Manager for Wells Fargo’s Military Affairs Program, which includes development and oversight of military and veteran national partnerships, maintaining external relationships with the military community, including the Department of Defense, and designing and implementing the strategy for military and veteran matters within the company.
Jerry has worked in the banking industry for more than 22 years, and is in his 27th year with the U.S. Army.
During my first transition from active duty to civilian life, I was fortunate to have the Montgomery Government Issue (GI) Bill to help pay for my college education. It was the reason I joined the military. Coming from a family of 13 children we didn’t have college savings. The GI Bill gave me financial access to college, but it didn’t cover all of the costs of tuition and other expenses, such as housing, food and books. I stayed in the National Guard for part-time income and had another job as well. Despite having the GI Bill and two part-time jobs, I left college with student loans, which impacted my integration and career choices. For example, I took the first job, possibly not the best job, available upon graduating.
So that’s why I was so excited last year when Wells Fargo announced its Wells Fargo Veterans Scholarship and Wells Fargo Veterans Emergency Grants Programs. The company committed $2 million over four years to help with a piece of the transition puzzle for our veterans who wish to advance their education. In the first year alone, we awarded 22 scholarships and 25 grants.
Veterans Amare Lovely and Tabitha Garvin-Betancourt are two of the 22 scholarship recipients in 2016. Lovely served nearly five years as a Navy Corpsman, receiving 13 Command Certifications of Excellence. He organized community diversity inclusion programs and mentored underprivileged children. Amare deployed to Afghanistan where he sustained injuries from the blast of an improvised explosive device (IED) for which he was awarded the Purple Heart in 2013.
“Being a veteran who suffers from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and a full time student juggling raising a family, my life can be pretty stressful and overwhelming at times,” said Lovely. “The Wells Fargo Veteran Scholarship enabled me to focus on my schooling and family and not on the pressures of tuition, books, and fees. I am on pace to graduate next fall and I owe a lot of thanks to Wells Fargo for their support.”
Garvin-Betancourt’s husband served 12 years in the military and is on full disability due to both physical and mental effects from his service. Her spouse has a debilitating condition and is unable to financially contribute to household expenses.
“The Wells Fargo Veterans Scholarship Program has allowed me to return to school full-time without having to be stressed about paying for it. After meeting my husband and realizing all the struggles our veterans are dealing with, I decided to become a mental health counselor to help many military servicemembers and veteran families. The scholarship covers almost all of my tuition costs, which has helped relieve the financial stress of going back to school to become a professional counselor. Thanks to the scholarship, I am able to focus my attention on caring for my family, my schooling, and getting prepared to invest in healing our veteran population through mental health counseling.”
Learn more about the 2017 Wells Fargo Veteran Scholarship and Wells Fargo Veteran Emergency Grant Programs
Applications for the Wells Fargo Scholarship Program are being accepted through February 28, 2017. Awards will be made to honorably discharged veterans or spouses of disabled veterans who are high school or GED graduates. Renewable scholarships for up to $7,000 per year will be granted, determined by financial need and consideration of academic performance, work experience, leadership and community service, and challenges to completing a postsecondary program. Each award renewal will increase by $1,000 over the previous year to encourage program completion for each recipient.
Visit www.scholarsapply.org/wellsfargoveterans for more information and to apply.
The Wells Fargo Emergency Grants are available on an ongoing basis for eligible veterans who are enrolled in postsecondary education and experience unexpected financial difficulties that might cause them to drop out of school. Grants will be available for a one-time distribution up to $1,000 based on the cost of the emergency need, such as rent, utilities, daycare and medical expenses. Visit www.scholarsapply.org/wellsfargoveteransemergency for more information and to apply.
More information about Wells Fargo’s transitioning resources, such as financial education, mentoring and careers, can be found at www.wellsfargo.com/military/veterans.