The Place for Students Who Served
Story by: Jace Puckett
Veteran students are able to receive academic, financial, and personal assistance while enrolled at Austin Community College through a resource known as The Veterans Resource Center located at Highland Campus.
Located in building 4000, the first thing a student will see when they walk in the center is the open lounge area for a place to engage with other Riverbats.
“The Veterans Resource Center is a place for veteran students to connect with each other and with our VA [Veterans Affairs] staff,” said Bethann Warwick, the veterans outreach coordinator for all ACC campuses.
“We want a safe place where students can come and study and just be who they are,” said Warwick.
In addition to the lounge, this 4,000 square-foot-center also has rooms that can be utilized as a quiet place to study, Warwick explained.
“We have space for students to study in a quiet conference room with desks and comfortable chairs, and we also have computer stations where individuals can do their homework or print out things they need for free.”
Veteran students who are planning on transferring to other colleges or universities can receive help from the center as well.
“Every spring, we host a veteran transfer fair. What makes it different from the other transfer fairs is that we actually invite the VA person from other campuses and the veterans can come and meet that VA person and the recruiting officer from the institution they want to transfer to so they can find out exactly how they need to transfer their benefits over to make it a lot smoother when they transfer over.”
Other resources the center offers include help with writing applications for colleges and universities, as well as writing resumes. Even students who are looking for textbooks or a little cash are also in luck at the center.
“If students need assistance in finding books, or if they need a little gas money until their next paycheck, I can reach out to the community and find those services for them.”
The center even has resources for students who need counseling with their personal lives.
“Our VITAL (Veterans Integration to Academic Leadership) coordinator, Jeff Mo, does counseling here at the center. He can do counseling with students to discuss stressors that they have day to day in their classrooms and their personal lives as well. He meets here on Wednesdays from 8:30 AM to 5 PM, and he can be seen by appointment.”
The environment at the center is warm and welcoming, according to Warwick.
“There’s always laughter and students are always hanging out. Sometimes they bring food for each other or they help each other with certain situations.”
Laura Maldonado, a student veteran who served in the Marines, talked about how she enjoys connecting with other veterans as well as the VA staff.
“I like how approachable everyone is. Everybody’s eager to help.”
Army veteran Raymond Cathey mentioned how useful the center has been for veteran students like him.
“For veterans who don’t know, there are counselors in the back who tell them about the benefits that they qualify for. One example is the Dependent Education Assistance program. If a veteran has a certain disability, they’ll get a stipend to go to school.”
Learn more on how to get connected by visiting one of the Veteran Affairs offices located in the Highland, Northridge, Riverside, and Round Rock campuses. Or they can visit the Veterans Resource Center located in building 4000 of the Highland Campus.