California State University, Long Beach
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Partnership Provides Veterans Support At CSULB, LBCC

Published: November 1, 2013

Apartnership between CSULB and Long Beach City College (LBCC) has veteran students at both campuses receiving additional services, thanks to support from the federal government.

CSULB and LBCC are among 62 new colleges and universities across the country offering services through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) VetSuccess on Campus (VSOC) program, which provides on-campus support to veterans transitioning to student life. That support comes in the form of an experienced VA counselor who will split time on each campus.

“One of the most exciting parts of this program is that we are able to partner with Long Beach City College,” said Marshall Thomas, director or Veterans Services Affairs at CSULB, the offices which are located in Room 220 of the Foundation Building. “Our Veterans Affairs’ counselor will be working on both campuses, which will help our transferring student veterans see an even clearer connection between our two schools.

“While our campus’ Veterans Services staff will continue to provide academic advising, G.I. Bill benefits certification, advocacy and outreach,” Thomas added. “The VA counselor will provide counseling on federal veterans’ benefits and provide referrals to both medical and non-medical VA services.”

The VSOC counselors will maintain close relationships with local VA veterans’ centers and VA 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. Partner schools provide on-campus office space for the VA counselors.

Since the inception of the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill four years ago, VA has issued about $30 billion in payments to help nearly 1 million service members, veterans and family members pursue their education.

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“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 undersecretary 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.”

Announced by the VA on Aug. 29, the fall expansion of institutions offering VSOC services triples the number of on-campus VA vocational rehabilitation counselors available to help ease veterans’ transition to student life and assist them in achieving their educational and career goals through VA’s Post-9/11 G.I. Bill and other education benefit programs.

VSOC began in June 2009 with a pilot 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.

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 other factors.

For more information, visit the VetSuccess program website.

–Ken Swisher