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SAC providing on-campus…

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.
Veterans Day Ceremony

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 programs. 

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 referral services. 

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 education. 

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. 

Texas participants:  

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 

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