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February 15, 2018

Resources for Student Veterans at USC

Each year, the University of Southern California admits student veterans from all branches of the military to our incoming freshman and transfer classes. In order to best accommodate their transition to and success here on campus, the school and its campus partners provide a number of different resources to address the academic, financial, social, or professional needs of this important population of USC students.

Departmental Supports

Since 2014, the Veterans Resource Center (VRC) has worked to support student veterans in all endeavors of college life ranging from outreach and admission all the way to graduation and job seeking. The center is a collaboration between multiple student affairs and administrative divisions and serves the nearly 1,200 veterans who enroll in USC classes each semester. The VRC provides students with a study space and access to computers and opportunities to socialize with fellow student veterans, check in with veterans certifying officers, find out about on-campus services, and participate in programs, such as the advisement luncheons offered at the beginning of the semester. The month of November heralds USC Military Appreciation Week, in which student veterans can receive professional advice (resumes, cover letters, networking and interviews), attend a job recruitment fair, enjoy catered luncheons, and receive complimentary tickets for sporting events!

Across campus, USC staff members in various academic and student affairs departments serve as direct contact points for student veterans to address any specific questions or requests that they may have as they navigate their educational journey. This includes the Career Center, the Office of Religious Life, Disability Services and Programs, the Counseling Center, and so on. Additionally, each of the admission counselors in the USC Office of Admission are able to answer general questions about the application and transfer credit processes. Admission counselors are assigned to applicants based on the high school they graduated from or the post-secondary institution they enrolled in pre- or post-military service.

Clubs & Organizations

To help student veterans make connections and build their social and professional networks both during and beyond their time at USC, there are multiple student and alumni associations to join. The USC Veterans Association is a student organization composed of undergraduate and graduate students and keep members informed of various opportunities and resources. On their active Facebook page, students can find out about upcoming social events and workshops, job openings and research opportunities, and apply for leadership positions within the group. The Marshall Military Veterans Association is a group for student veterans pursuing their MBA at the Marshall School of Business. In an effort to provide ongoing supports for student veterans as they transition to USC, the USC Student Veterans Support Network was created to help current and former students, staff and faculty connect with students. Lastly, the USC Alumni Veterans Network is open to all USC alumni who are veterans and are interested in staying involved with the Trojan Family long after graduation.

Financial Benefits

In addition to their GI benefits, student veterans have access to the same scholarships and financial aid resources utilized by all USC students. USC’s Office of Financial Aid and the Veterans Certification Office work with military veterans to help them understand their educational benefits, along with providing assistance with financial aid and other funding. They have also created an eight-minute video that explains this process more in-depth. USC is proud to participate in the Yellow Ribbon Program, which is open to post-9/11 GI Bill recipients and covers up to one-half of tuition and mandatory fees that are matched dollar for dollar by the VA. The Schoen Family Scholarship Program for Veterans was established in 1986 by William J. Schoen, a former U.S. Marine and USC alumnus (’60, MBA ’63), to provide additional funding for student veterans at USC. This scholarship is available to new and continuing students in the Marshall School of Business and the Viterbi School of Engineering who have served a minimum of three years of continuous, full-time, active duty in the previous ten years.

Research & Practice

In concert with meeting the needs of our student veterans on campus, the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work’s Center for Innovation and Research on Veterans & Military Families (CIR) is also committed to being at the forefront of research, education, and outreach for all veterans and their families. The CIR conducts a wide range of research projects, provides training seminars to behavioral health providers and clinicians, and works with community partners to address the issues that face today’s veterans and military families.

Student Perspective

Cesar Jimenez Jr., a transfer student from Pasadena City College, served 26 years in the Air Force and recently completed his first semester at USC as a Sociology and Non-Governmental Organizations and Social Change double major. “USC’s connection with the ROTC and military, along with the Veterans Resource Center” are some of the factors that initially attracted him to USC. He recommends that prospective student veterans attend the transfer student luncheons hosted by the VRC in order to meet with current students who will share their experiences on campus (Cesar attended two such events prior to applying). As applicants to the university, Cesar feels that veterans “have a competitive advantage because of their life experience, leadership experience, they have been given major responsibilities, and know what is expected of them [as students].” He is especially thankful for the resources that he has been able to access through the Disability Services and Programs office due to a traumatic brain injury he sustained during his service. This office, along with understanding professors, have enabled him to utilize the accommodations he needs to “be able to compete with an even playing field” and complete his first semester of college as successfully as he did.

USC is grateful for the sacrifices that our student veterans and their families have made to defend our country and we look forward to best supporting them as members of our campus community and the Trojan Family.

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