How Common are College Veteran Centers?

While there are no national statistics on how many college veteran centers there are in the U.S., academic programs and services for veterans are definitely changing for the better. According to research by the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), almost one million veterans attended college from 2000 to 2012. The number is growing because of the generous education benefits of the Post 9/11 GI Bill as well as the Yellow Ribbon program that offers additional benefits. The VA states that almost 80 percent of veterans using their benefits attend public for-profit colleges, so these institutions are more likely to have a veterans center.

Basic Services

College veteran centers are also referred to as veteran’s resource, service and benefit centers. They usually work with the Office of Admissions to help veterans request their academic records from the appropriate branch. They may evaluate military transcripts for potential credit transfers. Note that Army, Navy, Marines and Coast Guard military transcripts can be requested through the Joint Services Program, but Air Force has their own transcript service. Some veteran centers offer tutorial assistance if the veteran has eligible educational benefits. This means that service members can receive supplemental payments for tutorial assistance. Most veterans provide education tuition assistance programs and participate in the Department of Defense’s Military Spouse Career Advancement Accounts (MyCAA).

National Programs

Veteran should inquire if the college is a member of the Service Members Opportunity College (SOC) program. Colleges and universities that participate in this program collectively agree to remove higher education obstacles for persons serving in the military. The SOC program helps veterans earn a degree by formally allowing them to begin and temporarily stop a certificate or degree program because of changes in duty station. SOC schools share credit transfer standards, minimize residency requirements and offer more flexible policies. One unique program of the Army is the Concurrent Application (CONAP), which allows recruits to be admitted into college at the time of entry into the Army. This program guarantees that students can the option of graduating under the requirements of new degree program criteria.

Resource: Top 15 Online Colleges for Military and G.I. Bill 2015

Disability and Counseling Services

Most veteran centers will collaborate with the college’s office of disability services to facilitate access for veterans with disabilities. This program helps veterans submit accommodation requests and assists them with determining program eligibility. Eligible veterans may apply for interpreters, special equipment, note taking assistants, special classroom seating and alternate textbooks and testing arrangements. Most programs will work with career counselors to help veterans create well-written resumes, compose cover letters, prepare for job interviews and identify employment resources and opportunities. These counselors may help veterans deal with changes that may impact career choices, such as sustained injuries and competency gaps, as well as offer them assessments to identify skills and strengths, such as the Strong Interest and Myers Briggs Type Inventories.

College veteran centers may collaborate with student career centers to provide things like individualized tutoring, peer mentoring programs, student leadership opportunities and personalized skill building workshops. They may also have an equipment lending program, for laptops and calculators, as well as multipurpose rooms for studying or tutoring.