SAC providing on-campus VA support
This August, San Antonio College joined
62 other colleges and universities in a program that provides on-campus support
to veterans transitioning to student life. The program, VetSuccess on Campus
(VSOC), now has 94 participants; 13 of those are located right here in Texas.
The University of Texas – San Antonio is also a participant, the only other
VSOC in San Antonio.
“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.”
The website says, through the program,
the VA is strengthening partnerships with institutions of higher learning and
creating opportunities to help Veterans achieve success by providing outreach
and transition services to the general Veteran population during their
transition from military to college life.
The program will help Veterans,
servicemembers and their qualified dependents achieve their educational and
career goals through VA’s Post-9/11 GI Bill and other education benefit
A VA Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor
is assigned to each VSOC school to provide vocational testing and career,
academic, and readjustment counseling services. At many campuses, a VA Vet
Center Outreach Coordinator is present to provide peer-to-peer counseling and
With a VetSuccess counselor readily
available on campuses, counselors will be able to help resolve any problems
that could potentially interfere with a Veteran’s educational program,
including assisting with disability requirements, says the website. If needed,
counselors could also provide referrals for health services through VA Medical
Centers, Community-Based Outpatient Clinics or Vet Centers.
According to the press release sent out
in August, the counselors maintain close relationships with local VA Vet
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 nonmedical benefits.
Sylvia Jackson Rodriguez, SAC’s
VetSuccess on campus counselor, said she plans to do much more than just
provide what is necessary of her position as a counselor.
Rodriguez has a passion for making sure
those she helps succeed, she said. She added, counselors are chosen because of
their passion and dedication.
“We are here to serve,” said Rodriguez.
Something Rodriguez already has in the
works is a student Veterans association. She is currently working with UTSA to
form the group so members can help each other and bring in speaker series to
the two schools. She already has plans to bring in speakers to talk about
mental health, the vet center, military sexual trauma and homelessness.
Rodriguez said in the time she has been
here, since early October, she has personally seen at least 18 people. She has
also been networking with other departments on campus to share how the program
can help not only traditional students, but employees of the college as well.
The program had a delay in start due to the government shutdown and is
now heading in the right track – toward success!
Discounts and Freebies for Veterans
History of VetSuccess On Campus
Since the inception of the Post-9/11 GI
Bill four years ago, VA has issued about $30 billion in payments to help nearly
one million service members, Veterans and family members pursue their
VSOC began in 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 or a full list of participants
in the VetSuccess program, go to www.vetsuccess.gov.
Austin Community College
Sam Houston State University
University of Texas – San Antonio
Tarrant County College District – South Campus
Tarrant County College District – NE Campus
Texas A&M University – Central Texas
Central Texas College
Houston Community College
Lone Star College System
Texas A&M University
University of Houston
University of Houston – Arlington
San Antonio College