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Spotlight on our Veterans

OCC's 2nd Annual Veteran's Day Celebration (2012)

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OCC Named 2012 'Military Friendly School'
Coast Ranks Among Top 15% of Schools Nationwide
 
Orange Coast College has been named a Military Friendly School for 2012.  It is the fourth year Coast has ranked among the top 15% of 7,000 colleges, universities, and trade schools evaluated in a national survey by G.I. Jobs Magazine.

Publisher Rich McCormack made the official announcement in a press release on Monday, Aug. 16th.  The monthly publication is a resource for veterans seeking civilian employment and educational opportunities.
The “2012 Guide to Military Friendly Schools” will be published in September. Results will also be available on the www.militaryfriendlyschools.com website.

Orange Coast College mainstreams services for veterans through its Veterans Services Office, which is staffed full-time by veteran certifying officials who help students complete paperwork and provide assistance with counseling, financial aid, enrollment, employment and residency issues.
The number of veterans attending OCC has increased dramatically since Aug. 1, 2009, when benefits from the Post-9/11 GI Bill took effect.  Educational support is provided for 36 months, the equivalent of four years of school.

The Veterans Administration covers 100% of tuition costs and fees at public institutions, a $1,000 annual stipend for books, and a $2,000 monthly housing allowance for full-time students. The funds are also tax exempt.
Of an estimated 800 veterans attending Coast, 400 receive financial assistance through the GI Bill. Veterans have 10 to 15 years to exhaust their benefits once they leave military service.

Midge Hill, OCC’s chief veteran certifying official, reported that veteran enrollment increased by 43% last fall, with another 53% jump during the recent spring semester.  The office logged a surprising 103% increase this summer.
Figures aren’t in for the Fall 2010 semester, but based on her overflowing file cabinet, Hill is certain that veteran enrollment will continue to grow.  Veterans value the opportunity to get an education, Hill said.  They also bring a “world of experience into the classroom.”

Hill is happily inundated with email from veterans and members of the military requesting information about OCC.  Many prospective veteran students learn about the college by “word of mouth” from their friends, she said.  The college’s reputation as a top transfer school and its wide selection of career programs also attracts veterans.
Poly Chuong, 30, a Navy veteran and recent OCC graduate who will transfer to USC Marshall School of Business this spring, had high praise for OCC’s Veterans Service Office, especially Hill and her assistant, Tom Choe.
“The first day on campus, I was really nervous,” Chuong said. “They were so warm and welcoming.  I didn’t have income, and I didn’t know how to make it happen. They walked me through it all.”

OCC’s Veterans Services Office is located on the first floor of Watson Hall, the campus enrollment center.  Veterans can stop by for assistance Mondays and Tuesdays; 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.; Wednesdays, 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.; and Fridays, 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
For more information, call 714-432-0202 ext. 26645 or visit the other areas of this website.
 
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From left, Jason Sparlin, a veteran from Laguna Niguel; Midge Hill and Tom Choe, Orange Coast College veteran certifying officials; Daniel Sorrentino, a veteran from Mt. Vernon, NY; and Nick Steward, a veteran from Mansfield, OH, display OCC’s 2010 Military Friendly School designation from GI Jobs Magazine.  The student veterans work part-time in the college’s Veterans Services Office.
 
Orange Coast College, founded in 1947, is one of the nation's top transfer schools. With a student population of 22,000, OCC provides exemplary programs leading to Associate degrees and 165 career programs. The college's 164-acre campus is located in the heart of Costa Mesa. For complete details about OCC, visit http://www.orangecoastcollege.edu