College makes fifth appearance on Military Friendly Schools list
10.03.2014 | By Andrea Vasquez
San Jacinto College is now a five-time military friendly school, according to Victory Media Inc.’s annual Military Friendly Schools list.
The annual list showcases the top 20 percent of colleges, universities, and trade schools in the country that are doing the most to embrace America’s service members, veterans, and spouses.
“This listing gives San Jacinto College an opportunity to showcase the services that we offer to our service members every time they pick up a GI Jobs Magazine,” said Melanie Neill, San Jacinto College North Campus veteran success coordinator. “Our veteran centers offer a one-stop shop for our veteran students and their dependents. Veterans appreciate the opportunity to attend a place that is kind and cares about them as a whole, and not just about their educational needs. Veteran students often tell us that they enjoy the fact that they do not have to tell their stories over and over again, since they are not being bounced around from office to office. In addition, we often act as a referral service to outside veteran resources as well.”
U.S. Army Reservist Staff Sergeant Silvia Escobedo, a current San Jacinto College student pursuing her Associate of Applied Science in Accounting, likes the fact that the College was close to home and offered a quality education. “Some of the most beneficial resources the veteran centers provide are a great study environment, the computer lab, educational planning, and quick certification of education benefits,” said Escobedo.
Like Escobedo, U.S. Army Reservist Specialist and San Jacinto College student, Christopher Tello, also enjoys the resources at the veteran center along with the camaraderie the environment provides. “What I really like the most is how everyone feels welcomed and respected,” said Tello.
The last academic year, San Jacinto College had 1,461 veteran students enrolled College-wide. San Jacinto College continues to support community and student veterans through a number of College-wide projects and events. In 2009, the College created the Veterans Education Network (VEN) in which any participating staff or faculty members who are veterans would display a sign outside their office indicating that they are veterans willing to serve as veteran student mentors. In 2011, the College participated in the Backpacks for Veterans project, with faculty, staff, and students filling more than 900 drawstring backpacks with toiletries, gas cards, and bus passes to distribute to local veterans assistance agencies. In 2012, as a service learning initiative, the College developed the Veterans Oral History Project, where faculty and students interviewed and recorded 26 veteran interviews, which have been archived by the College and are included in the Veterans History Project at the Library of Congress’ Folklife Center. That same year, the Centers for Excellence for Veteran Student Success were officially opened, providing a central location on each campus for veteran student services.
Last year, made possible through grant and institutional funding, the College formed the Veterans In Our Community committee, which sponsored a film series of Hollywood and independent films about veterans’ issues and experiences ranging from posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), the transition back into civilian life, military sexual trauma (MST), and stories of multiple cultural experiences in the military over the last century. The committee also brought in several speakers, including New York Times best-selling author and U.S. Army veteran, Wes Moore. Earlier this year, the College hosted a veteran resource fair, and was named a “Best College for Vets” by Military Times.
As a participating institution in the College Credit for Heroes Initiative (CCHI) administered by the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC), San Jacinto College has worked with partner schools across the state to examine ways to award college credits for military experience from all branches of service. Phase I of CCHI focused on allied health fields, and Phase II focused on Information Technology, helping student veterans earn certifications or degrees more quickly, and enter the civilian workforce.
The College also offers veteran students up to 15 credit hours for military training that is applicable to the student’s program of study, and up to two credit hours toward physical education credit hours. The College allows up to 30 credits for CLEP exams and also offers credit for the DANTES Subject Standardized Test (DSST) credit-by-exam. San Jacinto College has also been listed in the 2010, 2012, and 2013 Military Friendly Schools lists and is a 2011 TEXVET Partner Member, Texas Veterans Civic Council (VCC) Member, Texas Association of Collegiate Veterans Program Officials (TACVPO) Member, and Western Association of Veterans Education Specialists (WAVES).
For more information on San Jacinto College veteran services, visit www.sanjac.edu/veterans.
About San Jacinto College
Surrounded by monuments of history, industries and maritime enterprises of today, and the space age of tomorrow, San Jacinto College has been serving the citizens of East Harris County, Texas, for more than 50 years. As an Achieving the Dream Leader College, San Jacinto College is committed to the goals and aspirations of a diverse population of approximately 30,000 credit students. The College offers 186 degrees and certificates, with 46 technical programs and a university transfer division. Students benefit from a support system that maps out a pathway for success, and job training programs that are renowned for meeting the needs of growing industries in the region. San Jacinto College graduates contribute nearly $690 million each year to the Texas workforce.