Military and Veteran Students Resources

Samuel Merritt University is dedicated to providing the highest quality and comprehensive support to veteran students and creating an atmosphere of commitment, respect, and academic excellence. We provide education, administrative services, and job advisement to our student veterans, active duty students, and their families, as well as outreach to the military communities at large. 

Goals
•    To make SMU known as the premier veteran-friendly institution in a veteran-friendly state
•    To increase the admission, retention, and graduation rates of veterans
•    To make the Veterans Resource Center an accessible resource to all SMU veterans
•    To ensure that the Veterans Resource Center is effectively and efficiently meeting the needs of SMU veterans and their dependents
•    To increase access to higher education for California veterans and their families
•    To remove social, physical, and psychological barriers through a vibrant and robust network with California’s vast veteran services and other higher education institutions
•    To provide veterans with resources that will better prepare them for successful entry into the workforce

Purpose
•    Inform and raise general awareness to veterans and dependents of the use of any military education benefits (GI Bill) to attend our university
•    Provide a veteran support system and create an atmosphere of camaraderie to incoming and current student veterans
•    Continually seek to support the existing Student Veterans Association as a means to contribute to student life projects on our campus
•    Build a partnership with various organizations in the community to further expand employment, volunteer, and health and welfare opportunities for student veterans


Pay us a visit. We're in the Peralta Medical Office Building 3100 Telegraph Ave. Rm. 303.

Career Services
You can locate career services at the PMOB 1st floor within the Student Services Center. This office can assist you in attaining your long-term goals of employment after you graduate. They also have counselors available for resume and interview training.

The Financial Aid Office
This office can assist you in obtaining loans and scholarships.
NOTE: The Federal Government does NOT use your Veterans Benefits when calculating your eligibility for free financial aid. Every veteran attending SMU should fill out their FAFSA.

Admissions Office
This office can answer all of your questions regarding admissions, including our online application.
NOTE: SMU does NOT charge out-of-state tuition rates for veterans. 

Overview
VetSuccess on Campus (VSOC) is a collaboration between the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and SMU. Beginning in 2009 as a pilot program at the University of South Florida, the VSOC program has expanded to over 100 schools nationwide. The overarching goal of VSOC is to assist veterans, service members, and qualified Dependents so they can succeed academically and prepare for a viable career upon graduation

VSoC Services

  • Educating students on their VA education benefits (e.g. Post 9/11 GI Bill (CH33); Montgomery GI Bill (CH30); Montgomery GI Bill – Selective Reserve (CH1606); Dependents Education Assistance (DEA or CH35), Transfer of Entitlement (ToE), and the Fry Scholarship)
  • As a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor, the VSOC Counselor is uniquely qualified to provide a comprehensive explanation of the VA’s Vocational Rehabilitation & Employment (CH31) program to veterans with service-connected disabilities and can assist with the application process
  • Providing Career & Educational Counseling (CH36) services to qualified veterans, service members, and dependents (see separate section below for details on CH36)
  • Coordinating the Peer-Mentoring Program (see Vet2Vet page) at the Veterans Resource Center
  • Reaching out to new student veterans and dependents, and those on academic probation or suspension, to try to resolve problems that interfere with completion of education programs and entrance into employment
  • Providing veterans with a detailed explanation of eligibility criteria for VA Health Care and assisting with the application process
  • Conducting outreach at SMU and through the community (e.g. Swords to Plowshares) to ensure that no veteran “falls through the cracks”
  • Providing referrals to:
    • Veterans Service Organizations (e.g. American Legion, Disabled American Veterans, Veterans of Foreign Wars, etc.) that can assist veterans with service-connected disabilities in applying for disability compensation
    • VA Employment Workshops so veterans can develop resume writing, job interviewing, and networking skills; the VSOC Counselor can also assist with the above employment-related activities on a one-on-one basis
    • Swords to Plowshares for veterans who are homeless or experiencing housing difficulties that may lead to homelessness
    • Free Civil Legal Advice for VA-enrolled Veterans
    • On-campus resources: Career Services, Student Health, and Counseling (SHAC)

Career & Educational Counseling (CH36)
Do you know what you want to do with your life? Are you unsure of your career goals?
CH36 Career & Educational Counseling services is a VA program designed to help individuals narrow down a vocational direction and determine the course of action (i.e. education and/or training) needed to achieve that goal. Assistance may include occupational exploration; deciding on an occupational goal and a training program that will lead to that goal, and exploring educational or training facilities which might be utilized. The following individuals are eligible for CH36 services:

  • Any veteran/service member currently eligible for a VA education benefit (e.g. CH33)
  • Transitioning service members within six months prior to discharge from active duty
  • Veterans within one year following discharge from active duty       
  • All current VA education beneficiaries (e.g. dependents using CH35)

Additional information, as well as for instructions on how to apply online or in print, may be found at https://www.benefits.va.gov/vocrehab/edu_voc_counseling.asp