In order to help individuals who have served our country in the military, the Veterans Center at Salt Lake Community College is available to aid veterans in their pursuit of an education. Known throughout the country as a military-friendly institution, SLCC was selected as one of just eight schools for the “Vets For Success” program, which has given the opportunity for such a unique center. It is a flagship for other centers of its kind in the country. Located on the first floor of the Student Center at the Taylorsville Redwood Campus west of the cashier’s windows, all veterans can receive some kind of educational benefit through the center.
“We have sixteen different benefits that the office monitors. Each one has a complicated (registration) process,” Darlene Head-Goldman, Veterans Center Manager said.
Certain factors help determine what benefits each veteran receives, including what branch of the military a veteran was in and what situations a veteran was in during wartime. The benefits can also differ depending on whether a veteran saw active duty or not, whether they were in the reserves, or in a life-threatening situation, among many other variables.
One of the benefits that is currently available is the new GI bill called the Post 911 GI Bill. Under this bill spouses of veterans who were killed or injured in the service of their country can also receive educational benefits. If a soldier is gone on active duty a spouse can receive up to $4,000 in educational benefits.
Not all veterans at the school have self-identified through the college. In order to do this they need to come into the Veterans Center and be identified and entered into the college system. This is then verified through a processing center in Oklahoma. The Center encourages all veterans to contact them to see if they are identified with the college.
At this time there are 1,300 identified veterans attending SLCC, 875 of whom are using educational benefits. About four years ago there were only about 400 veterans at the school. There are so many now because of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Many of the employees of the Veterans Center are veterans themselves, and some double as students.
“I’ve been working here about a year now. I’m part of the work study program,” said Wayne Baker, a veteran of the Navy. “It’s been a positive experience.”
In-house at the Center is a representative from the Veterans Administration (VA), who is there to help veterans with their benefits and to counsel them on things like applying for a home loan. The Center works closely with the VA.
“My dad is 100% disabled from Vietnam, so he can’t afford to send me through school. The VA gives me benefits to go to school,” said Michael Woodhouse, a student at SLCC.
The Center also works closely with the VA Hospital here in Salt Lake, which is rated as one of the best in the country. Representatives from the hospital come to the Center to educate veterans on their medical benefits.
“I’m really proud of SLCC and their support,” Head-Goldman said.