Campus support team eases transition
CSU Monterey Bay admissions counselor Louis Martin enjoys working with veterans.
“They’re the best students to work with because they realize the value of an education – more so than the average 17-year-old,” Martin said.
“They’re intelligent and have interesting backgrounds.”
Martin estimates that he works with two dozen prospective student-veterans each semester. Some just show up on campus, others are referred by the campus veterans services liaison, Giselle Young. Some he meets at veterans outreach events, others are referred by government agencies.
“Sometimes, they’re nervous because they’re worried about whether or not they’ll fit in with younger students,” said Martin, who works hard to put them at ease.
“I try to make them comfortable by letting them know there are a lot of re-entry students here – drawn by the family housing and the child care center on campus,” he said.
He also lets them know that they may be able to earn academic credit for the training and experience they bring from their military service.
“Once they realize that, they relax,” he said.
Martin and the other members of the campus veterans’ support team are part of the reason CSUMB has been named a “Military Friendly School” by G.I. Jobs magazine for four straight years.
The magazine honors the top 15 percent of colleges and universities that are doing the most to embrace America’s military members and veterans as students. It polled more than 12,000 schools.
Among CSUMB’s military-friendly practices are web pages with information specifically for veterans; a designated veterans services liaison; a Student Veterans Organization; and a campus support team to help veterans make the transition from active duty to an educational environment.
Young says her role is “to troubleshoot various campus services. Each office, such as housing and other support services, has a staff member who works with veterans – both prospective and continuing students.”
This semester, CSUMB has 96 students receiving educational benefits under the G.I. Bill, and 63 of them are receiving the new Post 9/11 G.I. Bill benefit, which helps pay tuition as well as a monthly housing stipend and book allowance.
Another 25 students are eligible for the Federal VA Dependents Educational Assistance program as dependents of deceased or disabled veterans. The state of California also offers a tuition waiver to dependents of deceased or disabled veterans; 112 students are currently using this program at CSUMB.