Resources Available to HCC Veterans

Cortney Paxton, Staff Writer

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It is said that there’s only one percent or less of Americans who step up to serve in the country’s military.  And for these people, going back to school can be commonplace after they’ve completed their service.

However, for a veteran, enrolling into school and classes and making sure all documentation is up to date and turned in can seem like a daunting task.  Luckily, at Houston Community College, the Veteran’s Affairs staff does everything they can to make this process as pain free as possible.

“[Veteran students] follow our benefits process, which includes applying to HCC and their VA, [Department of Defense] and state benefits,” said Kapree Thomas, Interim VA Director.  “Once they have applied and been accepted, they will provide their required documents in our checklist and see an academic advisor then enroll in classes.”

The veteran’s checklist is online on HCC’s website and can be found by clicking here.  According to Thomas, the veteran benefits currently accepted at HCC campuses are the Chapter 33 Post 9/11 G.I. Bill, Chapter 30 Montgomery G.I. Bill, Chapter 31 Vocational Rehabilitation, Chapter 1606/1607 for Reserve members, Tuition Assistance, the Military Spouse Career Advancement Accounts Program (or MYCAA) and the Hazlewood Act.

Veteran students also get access to scholarships, grants and financial aid just like all other HCC students.  However, HCC campuses offer other opportunities for veteran students, like chances to connect with other veteran students.  According to Thomas, veterans can connect with each other at various VA Resource Centers located at the Central, Alief-Hayes, Southeast and Southwest campuses.  The school also offers job fairs to the veteran students.

“HCC and [the Veteran and Military-Affiliated Student Success] department work to build relationships with employers to help our veterans and dependents have a successful transition into the workforce,” Thomas said.

According to the HCC website, there is another resource available to veteran students, and it’s called the Veteran’s Academy.  The Veteran’s Academy helps veterans fast-track certain certificates and degree programs to help them get into the job force sooner.  There are currently four programs offered through the Veteran’s Academy: Emergency Medical Services – Paramedic Certificate Level I, Licensed Vocation Nurse, Medical Assistant Certificate Level II, and Pharmacy Technician Certificate Level II.  For more information on the Veteran’s Academy, click here.

Veterans or anyone else interested in learning more about the benefits and programs offered to veteran students at HCC can visit the HCC VA website at www.hccs.edu/veterans, call the VA call center at 713-718-8522 or email them at vmassonline@hccs.edu.

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