Los Angeles, CA — California State University, Los Angeles and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) are now working together to expand the availability of services to military veteran students through the VA’s VetSuccess on Campus (VSOC) Program.
Committed to fostering a military-friendly campus, CSULA recently signed a memorandum of understanding with the VA to help ease veterans’ transition to student life and assist them in achieving education and career goals.
“As a veteran, I am excited to be part of a team of students, staff, faculty and counselors who have the opportunity to shape the face of veteran support services here on campus! We are not only excited, but committed to helping students transition to Cal State L.A. where they have the opportunity to achieve their full academic potential. It is our opportunity to pay it forward and serve those who served us,” said Marco Urias, interim coordinator of the Veterans Affairs Office at CSULA.
According to the VA, partner schools are selected for the size of their student veteran population and proximity to a VA Regional Office, Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Service office, Vet Center or VA medical center, among others.
As part of the agreement, VSOC provides on-campus VA vocational rehabilitation counselor to guide CSULA veteran students through VA’s Post-9/11 G.I. Bill and other education benefit programs. The counselor maintains close relationships with local vet centers and medical facilities, referring veterans as needed for counseling or medical services and providing assistance enrolling in and applying for VA medical and non-medical benefits. The VetSuccess counselor will be located in an office adjacent to the University’s Veterans Affairs Office (Physical Sciences 113).
“VetSuccess on Campus is an innovative approach to help veterans in the often difficult transition from military service to academic life,” said Allison A. Hickey, VA’s Under Secretary for Benefits. “Placing experienced VA counselors directly on college campuses strengthens VA’s partnership with institutions of higher learning and creates myriad opportunities to help veterans succeed.”
CSULA currently has approximately 600 student veterans and dependents utilizing benefits, and 466 student veterans who used benefits last fall.
As part of the California State University’s Troops to College initiative, CSULA is committed to providing: supportive institutional values and administration; academic support programs and services, such as veteran-focused advising, mentoring and counseling; financial support and advice specifically for veterans; priority admission and registration, and academic credit granted for military courses and experience; and extensive opportunities in student leadership. For more about CSULA’s Veterans Affairs Office and its services: http://www.calstatela.edu/
The VSOC began in June 2009 with a pilot program at the University of South Florida and expanded to San Diego State University and Cleveland State within six months. The program continued to grow with five additional locations in 2011 and 24 by 2012. For more information on the VetSuccess program, go to http://www.vetsuccess.gov. For CSULA’s Veterans Affairs Office, call (323) 343-5080.
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About Cal State L.A.: The 175-acre hilltop campus of California State University, Los Angeles is at the heart of a major metropolitan city, just five miles from Los Angeles’ civic and cultural center. More than 20,000 students and 230,000 alumni—with a wide variety of interests, ages and backgrounds—reflect the city’s dynamic mix of populations. Six Colleges offer nationally recognized science, arts, business, criminal justice, engineering, nursing, education and humanities programs, among others, led by an award-winning faculty. Cal State L.A. is home to the critically-acclaimed Luckman Jazz Orchestra and to the Honors College for high-achieving students. Programs that provide exciting enrichment opportunities to students and community include an NEH-supported humanities center; a NASA-funded center for space research; and a forensic science program, housed in the Hertzberg-Davis Forensic Science Center. www.calstatela.edu