Veterans can find aid and more at PAC
July 25, 2019
In Military City, USA, Palo Alto College continuously works with military students and their families to understand the educational benefits available to continue their education and earn degrees and certificates. With more than 850 military veterans and family members using their educational benefits at Palo Alto College, one office in particular offers guidance and assistance for these students looking to further their education.
The office of veterans affairs (VA) serves as a bridge between a military veteran who's leaving active duty and trying to return to the civilian world. Veterans might know they have some sort of military educational benefits, but the VA office helps them fully understand what those benefits entail.
"[The VA office] offers one-on-one advising" said Vince Bosquez, coordinator of veterans affairs. "It's not all about getting someone in and out quickly. We take the time to answer every question that they may have. We help them with the registration process, apply for their benefits, and we talk to them about the different programs we offer at the College."
The most common benefits that are used at the College are the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill and the Texas Hazlewood Exemption. The Post-9/11 G.I. Bill pays 100 percent of tuition and fees for qualified veterans and gives them an addition stipend of $1,000 for textbooks. The Texas Hazlewood Exemption allows a Texas veteran to go to any public college or university in the state, giving them 150 hours of waived tuition and most fees. Additionally, under the Texas Hazlewood Exemption, veterans are able to transfer their exemption to their children if they are under the age of 26.
"The majority of the students who come to see us know they have benefits to use. They just might not know to what extent," said Bosquez. "Especially when they realize they have an opportunity to pass it along to a son or daughter."
The VA office also offers work study opportunities for veterans, allowing them to work within the office and help other veterans with their transition into college. This fosters the opportunity to share their stories with one another and form a familiar bond once shared during their service.
"The majority of our work study students are veterans who are here helping other veterans," said Bosquez. "They speak the lingo and they can relate to what our incoming veteran students have been through."
Bosquez said the work study students are one of the most important tools that the VA office has because the student workers are the first people prospective veteran students may meet when they walk through the door for the very first time.
"It's that connection that's created that really sets the tone for the experience at the College," Bosquez said.
This Saturday, July 27, the College will be hosting the 3rd annual Veterans Education Summit in the Ozuna Library and Learning Center. This free event gives veterans the opportunity to learn more about using their military educational benefits and allows them to meet area veteran service providers to discuss other services and entitlements available.
"We're always aiming to continuously raise our enrollment in not just out veterans, but all our students, and making sure they are using any and all educational benefits," Bosquez said. "It doesn't just benefit their families, but the community as well."
For more information on the office of veterans affairs, visit alamo.edu/pac/veterans.