San Diego is identified as a military town. As a result of this, San Diego City College has a sizable veteran and active military population, which makes up 11 percent of the student population, according to the San Diego City College Fact Book.
The Veterans Affairs office is located in A-109. Student Services Supervisor for Admissions, Records and Veterans Office Megan Soto and Senior Student Services Assistant for Veterans’ Affairs Elaine Erickson both work directly with veterans.
William Harcourt is one such veteran, having served the U. S. Navy for six years. Now a student worker for Veterans Affairs. He was completing his Certification of Performance in Business Presentations at City College at the time of the interview for this story.
Harcourt and other veterans went through the process of enrolling and getting certified for their educational benefits.
Veterans enroll at City College the same as any other prospective student: to complete the admission application.
Veterans then follow a different process for enrollment: residency must be determined, a DD214 — a certificate of release or discharge of the military, according to Archives.com — and official transcripts from any and all previous colleges or universities. Military trainings must be submitted to the Transcript Office at the San Diego Community College District. Then the submitted transcripts must be evaluated by request of the veteran, there may also be English and math assessments and an educational plan must be completed. For first time use of G.I. benefits, a veteran’s orientation must be completed. Application for financial aid is recommended to pay for classes.
Other requirements vary among individual veterans according to their backgrounds and needs.
According to Erickson, the purpose of her office is to identify veterans through their applications on the G.I. Bill website, then certify them to receive their benefits within one to two months’ time.
“It’s really about getting their benefits,” Erickson said.
Soto explained that veterans under the post 9/11 Montgomery G.I. Bill of Rights may receive physical, mental and/or vocational rehabilitation. The Department of Veterans Affairs determines what chapter each veteran falls under.
Another resource for vets on campus is the Veterans Service Center, located in A-220 and is staffed by Veterans Affairs work study students.
“The VSC offers vets a place to come together to exchange relatable experiences both as students and active duty,” said Harcourt.
The Veterans Service Center offers desks, computers and a space for veterans to work, relax and talk to other veterans.
For more information on veteran resources and benefits at City College, please visit http://sdcity.edu/MilitaryVeterans.