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With an estimated 1.8 million veterans residing in California, our state’s veteran population is the largest in the nation. Many of the increasing number of veterans returning from service will look to one of the 114 California community colleges as the most easily accessible and affordable educational options available. In fact, approximately 80,000 veterans and active duty service members enroll at California community colleges each year.

The role of community colleges is not limited to providing academic and career training for returning veterans, but also includes assisting with the adjustment some face when transitioning to life after military service, and particularly after combat deployment.  Fortunately, many of our colleges recognized this need long ago and expanded support services in order to help veterans successfully integrate into civilian and college life. 

 In a study commissioned by the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office (Chancellor’s Office) in 2014, student veterans and those that serve them identified Veterans Resource Centers (VRCs) as one the most essential elements to a student veteran’s academic success.  Currently, over 90 California community colleges indicate they have a VRC on campus.  Due to varied and often limited funding, the size, staffing levels, and services provided differ from campus to campus.

 The 2017-18 State Budget appropriated funding in the amount of $5 million, to be distributed by the Chancellor’s Office to applicants selected to participate in the Veterans Resource Center Grant Program.  This one-time program will provide grants to California community colleges to establish new or enhance existing on-campus VRCs.