VetSuccess on Campus eases military-to-college transition

When former U.S. Army Sgt. Danielle Orbach came to Austin Community College in fall 2014 she already had some college knowledge―she had taken college classes before enlisting―along with solid information technology skills gained in the service and as a military contractor.

Figuring out how to apply those experiences to earn a computer science degree was not that simple. Because she wanted to attend ACC, her Fort Hood vocational rehabilitation counselor referred her to Brad Robichaux, ACC’s VetSuccess on Campus counselor. Robichaux helped Orbach navigate her Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits and connected her with a work-study opportunity in ACC’s Veterans Resource Center at Highland Campus.

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Former Army Sgt. Danielle Orbach assists in the Veterans Resource Center as she pursues a computer science degree.

“He knew the best way for me to use the benefits that I had available,” she says. “That helped me a lot. Each school has their own way of processing benefit paperwork. He knows the best thing that will work for you.”

VetSuccess on Campus provides VA counselors at participating colleges and universities to help military students and veterans transition to college and the workforce. In addition to helping students take advantage of their VA benefits―including those unrelated to education―VetSuccess counselors offer academic support, referrals to healthcare providers or community agencies, job placement assistance, and more. The program is available to veterans and active duty-military and their family members who are eligible for VA education benefits.

“Service members often face challenges other students don’t,” Robichaux says. The 500-plus students he has helped this year have sought assistance for issues ranging from benefits payments to medical care and mental health counseling.

“We can help them resolve issues that might interfere with their education or keep them from achieving their goals,” he says.

Orbach says having such easy access to Robichaux’s VA expertise is the best thing about the VetSuccess program.

“There is so much knowledge that is available in one place,” she says. “You’re not being bounced around from department to department.”

To learn more, visit the VetSuccess on Campus webpage, stop by the Veterans Resource Center at the Highland Campus, or contact Robichaux at brad.robichaux@va.gov.

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