Helping our US Military Veterans build a better life!

Engenius Team

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So far Engenius Team has created 23 blog entries.

A Veteran Decided to Change Course. VSF was There to Help.

A Texas native, Chris Heinen followed in his parents’ footsteps and entered the military, the Army Infantry, in 1987 at the age of 19. After a back injury rendered him unable to continue to serve, Chris returned to civilian life. He used his skills-based high school education to quickly find work in the construction industry. After nearly twenty years in the field, however, job instability was wearing on Chris.

“In 2008 when the economy went bad, I was laid off from a few consecutive roles. But even before that, the lack of regulation in the construction industry really wore me down,” said Chris.

Chris began considering a career change that year, but it would be a few years before he found an opportunity that felt right. Through SC Works, Chris met Greenville Technical College employment coordinator, Steve Hand, who invited him to an on-campus open house and informed him that there was funding available for veterans.

His $2,000 course fully paid for by the Veteran Scholarship Forever fund, Chris was able to enter a Computer Numerically Controlled (CNC) Operator certification course, the first step in a series of certifications that will allow him to work as […]

2017-01-30T17:54:57-05:00May 19th, 2016|Success Stories|0 Comments

Resources for Greenville Area Veterans

Resources for greenville area veterans


Veteran Scholarships Forever was recently inspired by Greenville Technical College’s veteran support page. There, they’ve listed all the resources they provide to veterans on one page. (See Greenville Tech’s Veteran Resources here!)

In that spirit, we’ve listed a few major Greenville area resources for veterans in one place for you to share with a vet you know and love.

All Around Solutions

Upstate Warrior Solution

“Upstate Warrior Solution is a community based nonprofit organization that generates quality of life solutions for Upstate veterans, active duty, National Guard, and Reserve warriors and their families. The UWS model is centralized around face to face outreach to the warrior community, and service lines include Mentorship, Healthcare and Benefits, Education and Training, Housing, and Employment.”

Upstate Veteran Business Network

“Upstate Veteran Business Network exists to connect Veterans for the purpose of building a business network of reliable professionals and improve the effectiveness of Veteran-focused organizations in the area through meaningful personal and professional relationships and education.”
MeetUp Group:
Jason Schulz
Founder, Upstate Veteran Business Network
Greenville SC 29615
Telephone: 1.704.789.3654
E-mail: [email protected]

Greenville County Department of Veterans Affairs

“Veterans Affairs function is to provide and assist ex-service […]

2017-01-30T17:54:57-05:00April 22nd, 2016|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Fighting the Trend of Increased Student Debt Among US Veterans

Student debt is increasing amongst all Americans¹, but on average, a veteran will take on more debt than a civilian student²—in spite of generous GI Bill benefits.

Venus_Flytrap Veterans may get trapped with more student loan debt than the average American.

The primary contributors to veteran student loan debt are the same federal student loans that the average undergraduate takes out. In spite of GI Bill contributions, many vets either have to or choose to take out additional loans to pay for education-related fees or to put toward personal finances while in school. GI Bill benefits do not currently cover:

  • Out-of-state tuition at public universities.
  • Tuition fees at for-profit universities greater than $18,077.50 per year.
  • Unaccredited programs such as those found in vocational and technical colleges.

Is Federal Loan Debt Really All That Bad?

Federal loans come with low interest rates, which means debt in this category is typically more manageable. Plus, veterans now do not have to devote more than 10% of their income to debt repayment.³ While this may seem non-threatening at first glance, these policies may lead veterans to take on more debt than they otherwise would.

And, as you […]

2017-01-30T17:54:57-05:00February 18th, 2016|News|0 Comments

ECG Certification Gained with the Help of VSF

VSF Ashlee StoryAshlee Wedge, a veteran of the 14th Gulf Air Defense and currently serving in the Army National Guard, wanted to obtain an Electrocardiogram (ECG) certification so she could work in health care. Unfortunately, she soon discovered that the GI Bill cannot be used toward obtaining such a certification.

A part-time employee at a local sporting goods store, Ashlee could not afford to pay for school on her own, so she applied for the VSF scholarship through Tri-County. She received a $1,873 scholarship so that she could enroll in the ECG Technician program at Tri-County Technical College, through the Corporate and Community Education (CCE) Division.

“I’m thankful to receive the scholarship which helped me to earn this ECG certification,” says Ashlee. “After this two-month training, I will be ready to enter the workforce.”

Through contributions from individuals and organizations, endowments have been established at Tri-County, Greenville and York Technical Colleges, as well as Spartanburg Community College, through the CCE Divisions. Endowments have also been established at the Technical College of the Lowcountry through the Continuing Education Division. This benefits veterans training, and helps reach our goal to put veterans to work quickly, ultimately helping […]

2017-01-30T17:54:57-05:00January 28th, 2016|Success Stories|0 Comments

VSF Funds the Key to Acquire EMT Certification, Staying Debt-free

US Army Veteran Rob ClinedinstUS Army Veteran Sgt ES Rob Clinedinst was about to rule out the opportunity to get his EMT certification—a valuable stepping stone on the way to a nursing degree— because he refused to bring on debt his family budget couldn’t bear. 

Another $1,295 in tuition fees just wasn’t feasible for Clinedinst. He was already a full-time student who had exhausted as many scholarship avenues as he could find to obtain his Associate’s Degree from Tri-County Technical College while helping to support his family. In addition, he was saving and planning so that, with financial help from the GI Bill and FAFSA, he could attend Anderson University’s nursing program.

When he found Ron Demonet’s card while rummaging through his book bag, Clinedinst realized he may have the answer in his hands. He remembered meeting Ron at a Get Connected event at Tri-County Anderson’s campus the year prior. Rob remembered that Demonet had been working on a scholarship fund to cover certificate programs, so he gave him a call. The resulting conversation put Clinedinst back on course to pursue his Emergency Medical Training (EMT) certification.

Clinedinst applied for the scholarship and was approved. VSF covered the tuition cost and Tri-County’s Foundation covered the $170 […]

2017-01-30T17:54:57-05:00October 23rd, 2015|Success Stories|0 Comments

Proceeding Magazine’s “Better Than When They Came”: the Highlights

Provide veterans with more career preparation.

In the August 2015 issue of the US Naval Institute’s publication Proceedings Magazine, Lieutenant Edward Wright, US Navy, addressed the need for a comprehensive plan regarding veteran employment in his article “Better Than When They Came”.

In spite of historical—and even recent—moves to address veteran unemployment, it is still an enormous concern, particularly in men aged 18 to 25, for whom the unemployment rate is 8.5 percent higher than the unemployment rate for civilians of that age group. One of the main culprits for this disparity is lack of preparation. While an improved Transition Assistance Program has offered some relief for enlisted individuals seeking to make plans for civilian life, it lacks power when no peers, or, particularly, superiors are talking about the need for careful preparation.

“One likely explanation for why officers don’t make transition education and training a priority,” reports Lt. Wright, “is that transition is less of a personal concern for them than for enlisted personnel, who are 30 percent less likely than officers to serve the full 20 years or […]

2017-01-30T17:54:58-05:00October 23rd, 2015|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Announcing a New Partner College!

New VSF Fund Established at Technical College of the Lowcountry

Last spring, the Technical College of the Lowcountry (TCL) began considering a partnership with us. Thankfully, President Richard J. Gough of TCL, located in Beaufort, SC, had already been looking for ways to connect with the active duty military and veterans just minutes from his doors.

tcl logo

In an official announcement about the partnership, President Gough explains, “[Our] workforce development programs provide vocational and trade training and propel graduates into jobs, sometimes in as little as five weeks. Unfortunately, South Carolina and federal educational aid programs do not cover the cost of these programs, nor does the GI Bill.”

The decision to create a fund for veterans and veteran spouses in need met TCL Leadership’s desire to do more faster for veterans during their time-sensitive transitions into civilian living.

“At TCL, we estimate that up to 5 veterans a month are unable to enter their program of choice due to financial barriers,” says President Gough, “With your help, the Veterans Scholarship Forever Fund aims to help our service men and women who have volunteered themselves and their families in […]

2017-01-30T17:54:58-05:00August 11th, 2015|News, Partner Institutions|0 Comments

Join us for lunch with John Warren, former Captain, US Marine Corps

“A Case Study in Modern Warfare: Fighting a Sunni Insurgency and the Tactics Needed to Defeat ISIS”

$5 per person in attendance will be donated to Veteran Scholarships Forever.

Commerce Club
Monday, November 3rd at 12pm 
$22 per person (all inclusive)

John Warren took 9/11 personally, and upon graduation from Washington & Lee, he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. He was offered pilot training but declined and instead volunteered for the infantry, serving four years on active duty in the infantry and attaining the rank of Captain. He was in combat with the 3rd Battalion, 8th Marines and entered Ramadi, Iraq in 2006 after al-Qaeda declared the city a “graveyard of Marines.”  He was decorated for heroism in combat and now speaks regularly on counter-insurgency and leadership. Currently, John is founder and president of Lima One Capital, a lending company for residential real estate investors and home builders.
2017-01-30T17:54:58-05:00October 24th, 2014|News|0 Comments

Retired Navy SEAL sniper: lecture and lunch at the Commerce Club

On Wednesday, September 17th at noon, you’re invited to join us for lunch at the Commerce Club in Greenville, SC, to hear from Chief Petty Officer Thom Shea as he talks about his new book, Unbreakable: A Navy SEAL’s Way of Life, which has recently been in the top 25 of Best Sellers in both the military and the motivation categories.

Chief Shea did three tours of dutyUnbreakable with SEAL Team Two in Kosovo, Macedonia, and the Gulf, as well as two tours with SEAL Team Seven in Iraq and Afghanistan. During his deployment to Afghanistan while leading a SEAL team in 2009, he earned the Silver Star (our nation’s third highest award for valor in combat), the Bronze Star with Valor, Army Commendation with Valor and his second Combat Action medal.

For each person in attendance, the Commerce Club will donate $5 to Veteran Scholarships Forever.

Contact the Commerce Club at 864.232.5600 to RSVP. The cost is $22 per person, all inclusive.


2017-01-30T17:54:58-05:00September 9th, 2014|News|0 Comments