VetSuccess on Campus (VSOC)
VetSuccess on Campus (VSoC) Overview
VetSuccess on Campus (VSOC) is a collaboration between the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the University of New Mexico (UNM). 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. The VSOC program is coordinated on each campus by a VSOC Counselor, who is a trained VA Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor. In essence, the VSOC Counselor serves as the “face of the VA” on campus.
VSOC at UNM
VetSuccess on Campus arrived at UNM in 2012, when a VA VocRehab Counselor was assigned to UNM’s Veterans Resource Center as a full-time VSOC Counselor. As a result, veterans, service members, and dependents at UNM now have easy access to a VA employee via walk-in or scheduled appointments. Currently, out of the 100+ VSOC programs throughout the nation, VetSuccess on Campus at UNM is the only one in New Mexico.
- 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 UNM and through the community (e.g. Community Veterans Court, Stand Down, Job Fairs, etc.) 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
- Veterans Integration Center (VIC) 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: UNM Dental Services at Novitski Hall, Career Services, Center for Academic Program Support, Accessibility Resource Center, Student Health & Counseling, Manzanita Counseling Center, etc.
- New Mexico Workforce Connections DVOP (Disabled Veteran Outreach Program Specialist), LVER (Local Veterans Employment Representative) and ISC (Intensive Services Coordinator)
- VHA medical centers, Community-Based Outpatient Clinics, and Vet Centers for more intensive health services, including mental health treatment
Career & Educational Counseling (CH36)
Do you know what you want to do with your life? Are you unsure of your career goals? Are you in the right major?
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 interest and aptitude testing; 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 eligibility 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 instructions on how to apply online or in print, may be found at https://www.benefits.va.gov/vocrehab/edu_voc_counseling.asp
UNM's VSOC Counselor
Philip Maranon is the VetSuccess on Campus (VSOC) Counselor at UNM. With an office in the Veterans Resource Center (VRC), Philip works closely with UNM staff at the VRC to provide services to veterans, service members, and dependents. Philip may be contacted at:
(505) 277-1596 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org