Columbia, MO – The U.S. Department of Education has awarded Stephens College a three-year, $600,612 grant to develop a Center of Excellence for Veteran Student Success. The center will serve as the home for Mission Promise Kept, the college’s residential living and learning community for women veterans.

Stephens College launched Mission Promise Kept in 2022 to remove women veterans’ unique barriers in earning a college degree. The research-informed program provides a holistic, wellness and person-centered based approach focused on preparing, mentoring, and empowering veteran students to achieve academic success and personal growth. In addition to academic support, participants and their children live in an on-campus apartment and have access to a coordinated network of programs and services, including childcare.

“This center will provide a welcoming space and resources that meet the unique needs of our student veterans and their families,” said Mission Promise Kept executive director Elizabeth Herrera. “Women who have served our country and are now hoping to begin or continue their college education will have extra support transitioning out of the military, enrolling at Stephens, and completing their degree in a safe and supportive environment.”

Women veterans face persistent barriers to completing a college degree. While women are more likely to complete some college courses than male veterans, women veterans are significantly less likely to earn a bachelor’s degree than non-veteran women.

Stephens College also participates in the Yellow Ribbon program, a voluntary program between the college and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) that covers out-of-pocket expenses for tuition and eligible fees above what the VA covers for private college expenses.

“Veterans are accustomed to looking out for one another and working together as a team to accomplish their mission,” said Herrera. “Creating this Center of Excellence for Veteran Student Success will ensure their experience at Stephens is similar. They will know that we are on their team and are ready and willing to help them accomplish their mission of continuing and completing their education.”


About Stephens College

Driven by a mission to Learn. Grow. Lead., Stephens College has created groundbreaking educational opportunities for students from mid-Missouri and around the world since 1833. The College has built a foundation for the 21st century with its commitment to experiential learning, expanded degrees in the health sciences and creative arts, and targeted investment in programs leading to high-demand careers that serve and enrich communities. Stephens is an established leader in undergraduate women’s education and a longtime innovator in providing flexible, co-educational master’s degrees and certificates for working professionals. Learn more about Stephens College at

Mission Promise Kept Executive Director

Elizabeth Herrera, MNM, SHRM-SCP

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