By Debbie Gregory.
An estimated 70,000 veterans who have served in the War on Terror have enrolled into the California Community College system. Many of them face difficulties adjusting to civilian life after serving in the military, and receive support through Veteran Resource Centers (VRCs) located on California’s Community College (CCC) campuses.
The California State Assembly has shown unanimous bipartisan support in voting to approve funding for Veteran Resource Centers (VRC) at Community Colleges in the May Revision Budget Sub Committee #2.
While the $15 million on-going funding sustains the VRCs, the federal VA has already agreed to match the state’s input, resulting in $30 million in funding to VRCs in the community college system.
Research performed by the CCC indicates that providing support services improves academic success for all student veterans. This is especially true of those who are using the GI Bill and need to maximize every available month of eligibility. VRCs offer services specifically tailored to the needs of our veterans all in one place: tutoring, on-campus support services from the VA, and veteran support groups and counseling. VRCs also provide a sense of community and the camaraderie of fellow veterans, which are invaluable to transitioning to civilian life.
Many of these students enter our colleges with service connected disabilities, basic skills gaps, lack of support systems and challenges navigating a new system when entering higher education. Professional Veteran Resource Center faculty/staff support the veteran population on each campus and assure benefits and payments are appropriately allocated to the student and the campus. They are also in place to help student veterans traverse the complexities and constant changes to VA regulations and educational benefits.
We honor our veterans and the sacrifices they have made for our nation by supporting their educational journeys, culminating in successful careers.
In their May Revision, the Senate Budget Subcommittee on Education passed a $10 million ONE-TIME funding to community college VRCs. All California residents need to urge the Senate to go with the Assembly budget, and assert that this funding needs to be on-going, NOT a one-time fund.
Contact your local Senator and urge them to #PutYourMoneyWhereTheVetsAre by supporting the #70KStrong! It’s up to us to ensure that $30 million in funding goes to crucial transition efforts that help our veterans!