Student veterans study at Eastern Kentucky University, one of the sites where VetSuccess on Campus has already been active. (Eastern Kentucky University)
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The Veterans Affairs Department is nearly tripling the number of schools participating in the VetSuccess on Campus program, bringing VA counselors to more than 60 new locations in the fall, the department announced.
While the program is based on college campuses, the participating VA counselors can offer help on more than just education-related issues. Counselors can help vets learn about and apply for benefits they might not know about, and they also maintain close ties to VA medical facilities and Vet Centers.
“We want to ensure that those student veterans are given every opportunity, and every possible tool, that we can to help them be successful in their transition to academic life, but also their transition to civilian life,” Curtis Coy, VA’s deputy undersecretary for economic opportunity, told reporters in a conference call.
Coy added that the program provides an additional and more convenient “entree into the VA” for student veterans, opening up a world of VA benefits to people who would not go to stand-alone VA centers and thus could have been shut out.
Also on the conference call, Michael Dakduk, executive director of Student Veterans of America, praised the initiative as an efficient approach, saying that college campuses typically are good places to find greater concentrations of Iraq- and Afghanistan-era vets.
“I think this is great, a great way to conduct outreach, not only for academic support, but it’s a holistic approach,” Dakduk said.
The 62 new VetSuccess on Campus programs announced during the Aug. 29 conference call are in addition to the 32 that have already been established.
Coy said the new schools accepted into the program were chosen based on several factors, including the veteran population. The program also will have larger institutions function as “feeder schools,” where students from nearby small colleges can go for VA help.
For more information, visit www.vetsuccess.gov/vetsuccess_on_campus.