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Project Information

Our nation has made a commitment to provide educational opportunity for all Americans regardless of race, ethnic background, or economic circumstance. In support of this commitment, Congress established a series of programs to help Americans enter college, graduate, and move into a more productive and satisfying career. These programs funded under Title IV of the Higher Education act of 1965 are referred to as the TRiO Programs.

The Veterans’ Pre-College Program (VPC) is a federal TRiO Upward Bound Project and has been funded since 1989. It serves a minimum of 150 students per year. Over 3,900 veterans have been served by this program housed on the campus of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

How To Apply

Services are available at the main VPC offices at UT and at other convenient locations in our primary service area.

For a quick review of eligibility by phone, call 865-974-4466
Monday–Thursday between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m.
and Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

If you are outside the Knoxville local calling area, call toll free 1-877-656-VETS

Frequently Asked Questions

The free VPC Program provides an array of academic and personal services for veterans who have a desire to enter college or other postsecondary education programs and graduate.


  • Must have 180-plus days of active duty service or have been in a reserve component called to active duty for 30-plus days AND
  • Must not have a dishonorably discharge AND
  • Must not have completed a four-year college degree
  • Must have two or more of the following: (1) household income that meets federal economic low-income levels; (2) parents who do not have a four-year college degree; or (3) demonstrated academic need for VPC services

  • Career exploration and assistance
  • Target school selection, advising, and assistance
  • Admissions preparation
  • Financial aid advising and application assistance, including letters of recommendations, etc.
  • Academic needs assessment and planning
  • Academic instruction and one-on-one tutoring in math, English, and selected sciences
  • Workshops in computer literacy, financial aid, and core subjects
  • Skills training in note taking, time management, etc.
  • Referrals to other essential veteran services
  • Transfer assistance

  • Assessments in math and algebra
  • Basic math, algebra, pre-calculus
  • Selected sciences and foreign languages
  • English, reading/language, writing skills, and literature
  • Social Studies and other academic subjects
  • Personal computer literacy
  • Word processing and other software skills
  • Other academic subject, if available.

  • Public, two-year or four-year college or university
  • Private, nonprofit two-year or four-year college or university
  • Public, nonprofit technical, vocational, or trade schools
  • Proprietary school (private, for profit)
  • Other postsecondary programs eligible for VA educational benefits, such as Tennessee College of Applied Technologies (TCAT)

The project is not a direct source of funds to pay for your postsecondary education program. The services you receive from VPC is provided by a grant from the US Department of Education. There is no charge for services—you earned these benefits by serving your country. A program advisor will help you identify and apply for all the sources of financial aid for which you are eligible: federal, state, local, or private sources. We make every attempt to help you qualify for financial assistance except student loans which requires repayment at interest.

  • We can answer all of your educational questions or we know where to find the answer.
  • We are veterans helping veterans just like you.
  • You have on-going access to staff who are experts in veteran educational information.

VPC helps:

  • Identify appropriate career choices based your interests, abilities, and goals;
  • Access specific individual academic competency needs that apply to you;
  • Provide tutoring and refresher courses;
  • Assist you with preparing school application(s);
  • Assist you with applying for all available financial aid;
  • Help you overcome various other barriers to postsecondary education;
  • Make new friends and build a veteran-friendly support group;
  • Secure your eligibility for VPC support after you start school; and
  • Receive letters of support and/or recommendation as education or employment opportunities occur.