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Santa Monica College Receives Grant to Expand Services for Veterans


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October 3, 2018 -- Santa Monica College (SMC) has received a $280,000 grant to expand services that help active duty service members and veterans succeed in college, school officials announced Tuesday.

The funds will be used by the college's Veterans’ Resources Center, a “one stop shop” for student veterans that offers academic tutoring, counseling and other services, officials said.

SMC -- one 90 California community colleges with such centers -- received the maximum amount after a competitive process, officials said.

A total of $8.5 million in grant funding was awarded to 59 of the colleges with veterans centers.

“For almost a decade now, Santa Monica College has been actively seeking ways to support student veterans," said Dr. Kathryn E. Jeffery, SMC Superintendent/President.

“Our dedicated counselors and staff," Jeffery said, "have truly proven that at SMC, we care deeply about our student veterans and are willing to go the extra mile to see them succeed.”

SMC has enrolled nearly 1,000 student veterans each academic year over the past five years, officials said.

They are among the roughly 80,000 veterans and active duty service members that enroll each year at California's 115 community colleges, officials said.

In addition to providing counseling and tutoring services, SMC's center offers a computer lab, therapy and referrals to community resources and other veteran-serving programs in the West Los Angeles area.

The center also features a veteran lounge/study room that is "a popular spot where veterans can study and relax between classes," officials said.

The Veterans’ Resource Center will use the grant funds to develop a “military-to-academics” transition workshop and organize a student support group, networking events and other services exclusively for female veterans, SMC officials said.

It also will use the funds to host transfer advisors and veterans resource staff from four-year colleges and universities in the region, officials said.

“We had been discussing providing additional services to student veterans since an internal ‘program review’ in spring 2018," said VRC faculty leader Elaine Morton, "and less than two weeks later, the Chancellor’s Office announced the grant.”

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