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Vets receive support at SF State

November 9, 2007

When former Marine Jon Rillera arrived at SF State he found essays, G.I. Bill paperwork and plenty of adjustments waiting for him.

"It was hard at first because you're going from an organized system to school where you have to do everything for yourself," Rillera said. "It's been a long time since I've been in school, so there are all these small challenges of books and resources to take care of."

To respond to those needs, San Francisco State and the other 22 California State Universitiy campuses have worked together through the California Veterans Education Opportunities Partnership to ensure that veterans, reservists and their dependents are aware of the tools at their disposal to reach their academic goals.

Benefits available to veterans include:

  • Priority registration. Beginning January 1, 2008, veterans can sign up for classes on the second day of registration if they are active-military or left active duty within two years.
  • Veterans or active-duty personnel based in California will be entitled to resident tuition for up to two years.

SF State established a Veterans Support Team in August 2006 composed of leaders from departments across campus to ensure veterans find easy answers as they transition back to academic life. These include representatives from outreach, admissions, financial aid and health services among others.

Jo Volkert, associate vice president of enrollment planning and management, convened the support team to provide a clearinghouse of information for veteran students. "They can feel pretty isolated when they come to a college campus and they feel like they're the only one with that particular background," Volkert said. "They're here to get an education and the main thing is for them to know that they have a welcome spot here."

The task force created the SF State Veterans Corner to serve as a comprehensive reference for information related to veteran students. The site contains contact information for departments at SF State who provide services for veterans and links to resources off campus.

The support team has also been active in outreach. Earlier this fall, the Veterans Support Team hosted a lunch for veterans interested in forming a student veterans group. The group -- now an official student organization -- boasts nearly three-dozen members from all five branches of the armed forces. Currently, 119 veterans attend SF State using federal Veterans Administration educational benefits.

Associate Director of Undergraduate Admissions Ernie Scosseria said the support team has improved awareness around campus of the veterans and their needs, as well as improving communication between campus offices.

For more information about services available to veterans, reservists or dependents, visit the Veterans Corner Web site or contact

-- Michael Bruntz


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Last modified November 9, 2007 by University Communications