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November 11, 2013

‘There is someone willing to help’

Blinn’s new Veterans Resource Center will serve more than 700 veterans across four campuses

David Sommer, student veterans Kilroy Bracey and Kara Coonrod and Interim President for Brazos County Campuses Sylvia McMullen

Blinn College celebrated Veteran’s Day with the grand opening of a new Veteran’s Resource Center on its Bryan campus Monday.

The new center, located inside the campus Administration Building and run by the College’s Veteran Services office, will help student veterans enroll, receive benefits, find jobs, secure aid for their disabilities and find access to local counseling. The center will also provide academic advising for veterans and their dependents as well as a space for student veterans to support one another in their transition from the military to college life.

“We don’t see supporting, recognizing and helping our veterans as a one-day responsibility,” said Blinn College Board of Trustees Secretary David Sommer. “As trustees, we’re making that something we do every day at Blinn College and we hope this resource center will help us in achieving that goal.

I’m proud to know that this center will not only help the 700 veterans on our campus, but will help future veterans who choose Blinn College for their education.”

Blinn is home to approximately 700 military veterans across its four campuses, matching the total of many four-year universities.

“This resource center will allow us to better assist veterans with all the hoop jumping that sometimes goes into getting your benefits,” said Kara Coonrod, a veteran from Katy who is now studying business and music while working part-time for Blinn’s Veterans Services office. “This resource center shows us that despite the tribulations that sometimes take place in getting your benefits, there is someone willing to help you.”

Legislative programs designed to provide educational assistance to military veterans include:

  • CHAPTER 33 – Open to active duty military personnel who served after 9-11, Chapter 33 pays for tuition and fees, and includes a book stipend and housing allowance.
  • CHAPTER 30 – This is the original Montgomery G.I. Bill for veterans who have served in active duty. This provides a flat rate payment based on enrollment status, with no book stipend or housing allowance.
  • CHAPTER 31 – Also known as Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E), Chapter 31 is for veterans who have a service-connected disability. This benefit pays the school directly for the student’s books, tuition and fees. In addition, the student receives a subsistence allowance.
  • CHAPTER 35– To be eligible for Chapter 35 (Dependent Benefits) you must be the child or spouse of a Veteran who is either deceased or 100 percent disabled due to military-related injuries.
  • 1606 – This provides benefits for reservists who have not been called to active duty.
  • 1607 – This provides benefits for reservists who have been called to active duty.
  • HAZLEWOOD – A state benefit, the Hazlewood Exemption is for qualified veterans, children or dependents of veterans and exempts students from paying tuition and required fees.

Blinn enrolled 18,413 students this Fall and has experienced 31.1 percent growth since 2006. Founded in 1883, the College’s tuition and fees average about one-third the cost of the same classes at most four-year public universities in the state. In addition to its campuses in Brenham, Bryan, Schulenburg and Sealy, the College teaches online courses, dual credit for high school and prepares students for quick employment through its career and technical certification programs. For enrollment information and to learn about financial aid opportunities, visit: www.blinn.edu.

PHOTO – Blinn College Board of Trustees Secretary David Sommer, student veterans Kilroy Bracey and Kara Coonrod and Interim President for Brazos County Campuses Sylvia McMullen celebrated the opening of a new Veterans Resource Center on the College’s Bryan campus Monday morning. Blinn serves approximately 700 veterans across its four campuses.