The Ahmanson Foundation Veteran Student Scholarship Initiative (AVSI)
Otis was selected as one of 25 colleges and universities in Southern California recognized for excellence in serving student veterans. The Foundation’s goal is to help recruit, retain, and educate students who are pursuing higher education through the Post-9/11 GI Bill.
AVSI is designed to provide maximum flexibility so that participants can be responsive to student veterans’ individualized needs. In 2013, the inaugural year of the initiative, Otis received a $50,000 grant for scholarship support. The award complements the Ahmanson Foundation’s generous and longstanding contributions to Otis for annual scholarships and an endowed scholarship for graduate students.
A partner in the federal Yellow Ribbon Program, Otis provides a 100% match of financial assistance for tuition and fees provided by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs. Over the past several years, on average, seven veterans have registered for degree programs, among the highest rate of veteran enrollment in the College’s history.
Many of the student veterans self-identify as artists first. They take deep pride in their acceptance to the College because they were not asked to disclose their veteran status; admission decisions are based on artistic merit and academic performance. Yet, given their professional experience, they quickly emerge as campus leaders for their seriousness of purpose, creative approach to problem solving, and commitment to teamwork.
Just as they represent all branches of the military, from combat illustrators in the Marines to bridge crew members in the Army, their major areas of study reflect all academic departments, from Digital Media to Fashion Design. They are inspired by the examples set by fellow servicemen and women who are pursuing creative professions such as Nick Hayes (Toy Design ‘13), a lead game designer at Spin Master Ltd.