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VA announces veterans support program at ASU

October 07, 2010

Arizona State University has been chosen as one of five new institutions to be part of a Veterans Affairs (VA) pilot program, VetSuccess on Campus. Two VA staff, a vocational rehabilitation counselor and a Vet Center outreach coordinator, are being assigned to ASU to assist veterans attending school under the Post-9/11 GI Bill.

The pilot program is designed to ensure veterans’ health, educational and benefits needs are met as they make the transition from active-duty military service to college life.

The announcement came Oct. 5 as the White House held the first-ever community college summit chaired by Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden and adjunct English professor at Northern Virginia Community College. ASU senior Albert Ojeda, a community college transfer student, was chosen to attend the summit and to introduce Jill Biden.

“VA will do all it can to make veterans’ experiences in our community colleges and universities fulfilling and productive for them, their schools and the nation,” says Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki.

Under the pilot program, experienced VA staff from VA’s Vet Center are assigned to selected campuses. They will provide vocational testing, career and academic counseling and readjustment counseling services to ensure veterans receive the support and assistance they need to successfully pursue their educational and employment goals.

The counselors will work directly with school officials to establish effective communications channels with veteran students and coordinate the delivery of VA benefits and services.

ASU recently was named one of the top 30 “Best for Vets: Colleges 2010” by Military Times Edge magazine, and it also was named as a “Military Friendly School” by GI Jobs magazine.

ASU already provides services to veterans through the Veteran Benefits and Certifications section of the University Registrar’s Office, which assists veterans and dependents in receiving the timely payment of their educational benefits. ASU also offers all veterans and dependents the services of a military advocate, who can provide consultation, guidance, referral and advocacy services, to help students navigate the various services provided by the VA and ASU.

ASU maintains an on-site Veterans Upward Bound office to help veterans improve their academic skills, has student-led veterans clubs and a veterans introductory course, offers flexible online courses for military and veterans, and has specialized one-on-one career consultations for veterans.

“We are fortunate to have the opportunity to collaborate with the VA in establishing their VetSuccess on Campus representatives at ASU,” says Kathy McBride, associate registrar. “The pilot program’s mission meshes with the goals of the offices and staff serving veterans at ASU, as it complements our efforts to enable academic success and career preparation.”

ASU also participates in the VA’s Yellow Ribbon Program, which provides financial assistance for veterans with a 100 percent Post 9/11 GI Bill eligibility who are in programs which charge tuition and fees higher than the VA-established cap.

The pilot program already is underway at the University of South Florida, Cleveland State University and San Diego State University. The expansion adds ASU, Texas A&M University (central Texas), Rhode Island College, Salt Lake City Community College and the Community College of Rhode Island.

“I am thrilled to see the expansion of the VetSuccess program,” says Professor Biden. “I know the transition from military to student life can be challenging, and we owe it to those who have served our country to make their transitions as easy and successful as possible.”

ASU has a Website to direct individuals associated with the military to resources and benefits: