(Nov.8, 2010) – Lone Star College System has found a way to thank soldiers for their courageous service each day, not just Veterans Day, by assisting them in receiving their education.
LSCS is one of the largest colleges in the U.S. for the number of veteran students it serves.
“We are not just here to educate, we are here to help veterans through life,” said Shannon Wilson, LSC system director of Veteran Affairs and Services.
LSCS was ranked in the top 15 colleges nationwide, according to The Chronicle of Higher Education. The data was published in June as part of an analysis of Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits being received by returning veterans. LSCS was one of only two colleges in Texas on the top 15 list for veterans – the other was Central Texas College located in Killeen, home of the U.S. Army’s Fort Hood facility.
LSCS was also recognized in the 2011 Military Friendly Schools list of colleges for the services provided to its student veterans. This publication is published annually as a guide to veterans when researching colleges that offer benefits and services dedicated to the returning soldiers. This is the second year that LSCS was published on the Military Friendly Schools list.
At the heart of the services offered for veterans, is the LSCS Veterans Affairs Center, located at LSC-University Park campus. The center was designedto ensure that the educational, health, and benefits needs of veterans are met as they make the transition from active-duty military service to college life.
The center offers a gathering place for veteran students to meet up with other veterans with access to private study spaces and cubicles for group study. But beyond logistics, there are also dedicated advisors at the center who are specifically trained in assisting veterans and their families with their GI benefits and other related issues.
LSCS also has created a partnership with the Veterans Affairs Counseling Department to offer free counseling sessions on campus. AMVETS, also a LSCS partner, assists veteran students with disabilities in filing their claims.
All of the services provided at both the Veterans Affairs Center and on LSCS campuses are free.
It isn’t necessary to be a student at LSCS to take advantage of the center and services, Wilson said. Members of the community, VFW, American Legion and other organizations are invited to utilize the center and services.
Each LSCS campus also has a dedicated liaison for veterans, who assists veterans with their GI benefits, degree plans and transcripts, all aimed at helping the veteran students to be successful in their academic goals.
LSCS offers associate degrees, workforce certificates, continuing education and the first two years of a four- year degree, along with access to four-year universities at its University Centers.
“LSCS has worked hard on efforts to recruit and retain military and veteran students,” said Wilson. “LSCS covets veterans and military students because they bring a high degree of maturity, life experiences, diversity, leadership and worldliness to the classroom.”
LSCS is one of the few colleges in the Houston area that allows veteran students to start taking classes with little or no out of pocket costs. The veterans are not dropped from their class for non-payment if they are using the Post 9/11 GI Bill.
“We allow our students to start and we wait for the VA to pay their tuition without making the students take out additional loans,” said Wilson.Other resources available to veterans include book exchanges, lunch and learn sessions with topics of particular interest to veterans, and student clubs that offer veterans a chance to meet and socialize with others who share their experiences.
Wilson said that LSCS educates more than 2,000 veterans currently and about 200 to 250 students use the center each month.
Veterans Day is observed on Nov. 11 each year, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, “to honor America's veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good.”
The Veterans Affairs Center is located at LSC-University Park, State Highway 249 and Louetta Road. For more information about the center, call 281.290.2922.
With more than 69,000 students in credit classes for fall 2010, and a total enrollment of more than 85,000, Lone Star College System is the largest institution of higher education in the Houston area, and the fastest-growing community college system in Texas. Dr. Richard Carpenter is the chancellor of LSCS, which consists of five colleges including LSC-CyFair, LSC-Kingwood, LSC-Montgomery, LSC-North Harris, and LSC-Tomball, six centers, LSC-University Park, LSC-University Center at Montgomery, LSC-University Center at University Park, Lone Star Corporate College, and LSC-Online. To learn more visit LoneStar.edu.