Guest Column: Veterans have options

Jessica S. Wilson, Associate Director, CCAC Military & Veterans Affairs

Ask anyone who has served our country – transitioning from military service to college life is no easy task. Likewise, navigating higher education, Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits, and the myriad community resources available to an individual as a result of military service is no walk in the park either. That’s where the CCAC Office of Military and Veterans Services (MVS) comes in.

Although we are willing to help all students at CCAC, MVS primarily serves veteran students; members of the Reserves and Guard components; and the children and spouses of veterans. With offices at each of CCAC’s four campuses, we strive to ensure military-affiliated students across the college have access to all the help they need to succeed both academically and personally.

MVS can provide information on VA educational benefits specific to the student’s situation. We can also provide information about programs and scholarships available for military-affiliated students. MVS can ensure military-affiliated students are receiving in-county tuition rates and are eligible for priority registration. MVS will review military service transcripts and determine whether a student’s military education and experience is applicable to their college degree plan. Additionally, we can refer students to the appropriate campus or community resources to meet any other needs that may arise. On most CCAC campuses, MVS can connect veteran students with one another through the Veterans Club – organizations that help create the sense of camaraderie that many individuals miss once their time in service has been completed.

There are many barriers to success for military-affiliated students, to include service-related disabilities, family needs, and full-time jobs; in addition, Reserve and Guard members may also have to contend with training schedules and potential deployments. These challenges may make it difficult or impossible to complete their degrees. The services that MVS provide are intended to help overcome these barriers and facilitate our students’ achievement of their academic goals.

Ensuring military-affiliated students’ success is important college wide. Military-affiliated students enhance the diversity of our campuses and their unique experiences enhance discussions within classrooms. Their presence also helps to dispel negative stereotypes or biases that may exist against the military and its members, thus creating an overall more inclusive environment here at CCAC.