WHITTIER – Rio Hondo College’s Veterans Service Office launched a one-stop service center this summer that will allow veterans of the U.S. armed forces to conveniently obtain a host of critical services that range from counseling and tutoring to financial aid and loan assistance.
Veterans make up a small, but growing percentage of Rio Hondo’s student population.
“Our veterans are returning to college after making significant sacrifices on our behalf,” said Superintendent/President Teresa Dreyfuss. “As such, they have special needs that go beyond those of the typical student – and we want to be sure we meet all of them to ensure their success at Rio Hondo College and beyond.”
Yvonne Gutierrez-Sandoval, Director of Financial Aid, Scholarships and Veterans Services, said the center was inspired by a desire to provide veterans with a place where they would feel most comfortable getting the services needed for their education.
“Our veterans share unique experiences – many of them traumatic – and it creates a level of comfort for them to be around other veterans who understand that,” Gutierrez-Sandoval said.
Services for veterans include:
- Counseling services
- A Veterans Administration education benefits certifying official
- A financial aid adviser
- Emergency student loans
- Tutoring services
- Computer lab
- Information on community programs and services for veterans
- Graduation cap and gown loan program
“The transition to civilian life can be a difficult one,” added Arely Castaneda, Rio Hondo College’s newly appointed Veterans Service Center coordinator/counselor. “Providing a convenient location that meets all of a veteran’s needs helps eliminate unneeded stress. It also promotes their efforts to complete their courses and make the transition to a four-year college or new career.”
Board of Trustees President Madeline Shapiro said the new center is part of a larger campaign launched by the College to ensure all students receive services sculpted to meet their unique needs.
“Veterans are a growing and significant element of our student population,” Shapiro said. “It is a privilege to play a role in helping them transition to their next role in our society, and any service we can offer to make the process work more smoothly benefits us all.”
Open registration for Rio Hondo College’s fall 2015 semester begins Aug. 6. Fall semester runs from Aug. 22 to Dec. 12.