Mission Statement

The mission of the Veterans Upward Bound (VUB) “is to motivate and assist veterans in the development of academic and other requisite skills necessary for acceptance and success in a program of postsecondary education.”

Vision Statement

Our vision at VUB is to honor and empower veterans by creating a supportive and transformative pathway to higher education.

Program History, Background, and Evolution

The Veterans Upward Bound (VUB) is an office directed and supported by veterans. We are a Department of Education, grant-funded VUB project and have been hosted at the University of Tennessee since 1989. The VUB programs were created in 1972 to meet the academic needs of the nation’s economically disadvantaged Veterans returning from the Vietnam War. It was intended to provide an atmosphere and culture that helped Veterans transition back to civilian life.

Through the years, the VUB service area has grown to incorporate 15 counties, including and surrounding the Greater Knoxville area. Today we serve a minimum of 150 veterans a year as they prepare to attend the institution of their choice. We are consistently working to improve the services provided to meet the specific needs of each individual veteran. Enabling our veteran participants to grow and succeed in their personal and educational goals is always our top priority. Our veterans have served our country well and it is an honor to serve them now. We love being a part of the vibrant Veteran community in this region and connecting our participants to the fellowship and brotherhood it has to offer.


It is essential that all veterans have access to high-quality higher education. However, many veterans face a number of barriers in their educational pathways. Many veterans come from low-income backgrounds, and/or from families that did not attend college themselves. Furthermore, it can be difficult for veterans to make the social and psychological transition from active duty to a college campus. The VUB program exists to help veterans in the East Tennessee area aim for and succeed in higher education by providing them with comprehensive academic and career services and by connecting with the community of veteran learners and educators on the UTK campus. Our office is directed and staffed by veterans; we welcome all and look forward to serving.

Fill out the VUB Veteran Eligibility form so our office can determine what you qualify for. To be eligible for our services the Veteran must not already possess a four-year college degree. They can have any discharge other than dishonorable. They need 180-plus days of active-duty service OR a medical discharge OR have been in a Guard/Reserve component called to active duty for 30-plus days.

In addition, one of the following must apply: (1) household income that meets federal income guidelines, (2) parents who do not have a four-year college degree, and/or (3) demonstrated academic need for VUB services.


The VUB motivates and aids veterans as they develop academic skills that will aid them when transitioning to college life. All services are FREE and include free school supplies (backpacks, notebooks, pens, calculators), academic resources (tutoring, study guides, mentoring), and career guidance (planning, Career Game, Dantes, O’NET).

First, we help participants explore their Career opportunities and goals. Assisting them in identifying the appropriate program or degree plan, institution, and other education opportunities available in the target area.

We strive to provide access to resources that will enhance individuals’ academic comprehension. Some examples include refresher courses, one on one tutoring, Online Tutor Accounts, and Laminated Quick reference guides for a number of subjects. Overall preparing them for college entrance exams and the first day of class.

Our staff has knowledge of VA benefits, financial aid, and scholarships and is available to assist members in deciding which benefits will work best for their situation and guiding them through the application processes.

When a participant visits our office there is a lab of computers available. There is also a Library of resources they can check out on a long-or short-term basis. For example, graphing calculators, laptops, and tablets. There is also a limited number of needs-based items such as Laptops and Hotspots.

Project Director

For more information, please reach out to our project director Halle L. Timpson (Principal Investigator / Project Director) at htimpson@utk.edu

Educational Specialist

Name: Daniel Allen Blackburn
Counties Served: Anderson, Blount, Campbell, Cocke, Grainger, Hamblen, Jefferson, Knox, Loudon, Monroe, Morgan, Roane, Scott, Sevier, and Union
Phone: (865) 974-2132
Email: dblackb6@utk.edu