WASHINGTON – The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is making a concerted effort this Spring to reach out to student Veterans at eight VetSuccess on Campus sites to make them aware that VA counselors are standing by to help ease their transition from active-duty military to college life.
“Veteran-students transitioning from active duty service to civilian educational pursuits face unique challenges entering the college setting,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. “The VetSuccess on Campus program continues this Administration’s commitment and responsibility to meet the needs of Veterans and their families through effective peer-to-peer counseling and other services.”
Under the VetSuccess on Campus program, a full-time, experienced Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor and a part-time Vet Center Outreach Coordinator are assigned at each campus to provide VA benefits outreach, support, and assistance to ensure their health, educational, and benefit needs are met.
To make Veteran-students aware of the VetSuccess on Campus program at each of the eight sites, VA will conduct outreach activities through direct emails, posters, social media posts, articles in campus newspapers, campus website links, and outreach events at the student commons.
The VetSuccess on Campus program began in June 2009 as a pilot project at the University of South Florida. In September 2009, the program was expanded to two additional universities, Cleveland State University and San Diego State University.
A fourth pilot was started at the Community College of Rhode Island in December 2010. Agreements have recently been reached between VA and Arizona State University, Texas A&M Central Texas, Rhode Island College, and Salt Lake Community College.
“The President’s 2012 budget submission requests funding to support expansion of the program beyond the eight existing sites to nine more campuses,” said Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Director Ruth Fanning. “This continued expansion will help to ensure the coordinated delivery of VA benefits and services to those who honorably served this Nation.”
Under the VetSuccess on Campus program, vocational testing, career and academic counseling, and adjustment counseling are provided to work to resolve challenges interfering with completion of education programs and entrance into employment.
The Vet Center Outreach Coordinator provides peer-to-peer counseling and referral services. Both the counselor and coordinator may refer Veterans for more intensive health services, including mental health treatment through VHA Medical Centers, Community-Based Outpatient Clinics, or Vet Centers, as well as provide additional information on VA benefits and services.