California’s community colleges are committed to serving those who have served our nation.
With an estimated 1.8 million military veterans living in California, many are looking to community colleges for debt-free education and skills training as they transition into civilian life. In fact, approximately 55,000 veterans, active duty service members and dependents are enrolled at a California community college each year.
Our role, however, is not limited to providing academic programs and career training for returning veterans, but also includes assisting with the often-difficult adjustment many face when transitioning to life after military service, particularly after combat deployment. Colleges are expanding their veterans resource centers with an array of services, including counselors versed in GI Bill requirements and keeping track of how veterans are progressing in reaching benchmarks set forth in an educational plan.
“Your first year as a student coming out of the military can be challenging; getting an educational plan set so that it complies with the requirements of the GI Bill can be difficult, but (counselors) do a great job to keep you on track,” said Army veteran Allan Estrada, who credits the myriad services at Cuyamaca College for helping him transfer to San Diego State University and earn a bachelor’s degree.
One hundred and fourteen of California’s 116 community colleges have a veterans resource center. In addition, those who have served have access to priority registration, tutoring, food pantries and more. At the state level, a Veterans Services Advisory Committee works with colleges in opening the lines of communication to identify student veteran needs and exchange innovative ideas and share strategies for programs that are working.
If you’re a veteran, active-duty member of the military, or a military dependent, you’ll find the support you deserve at your local community college.