Pensacola State College a top destination for military veterans

Home News Pensacola State College a top destination for military veterans

Drexel Cotton

The Corsair

Pensacola State College student Billy Williams was in the U. S. Navy for 23 years. When he retired two years ago, it was tough for him to find work.

“There aren’t many jobs for what I did in the Navy. I was a boatswain’s mate,” said Williams.

Williams decided the time was right to enroll in Pensacola State College and pursue a degree program in a new field for him: education. His fear of tackling the unfamiliar world of the college campus soon faded after meeting with PSC counselors who are trained to work with military veterans.

“I had no clue what to do. But I went there and they laid out my whole plan for me. The counselors were very understanding,” he said.

Stories like Williams’ helped Pensacola State College land the designation as a 2012 Military Friendly School by G.I. Jobs magazine. The magazine is designed to assist veterans in their pursuit of higher education and civilian employment. The honor ranks Pensacola State in the top 20 percent of all U.S.colleges, universities, and trade schools that are doing the most to embrace America’s veterans as students.

“Veterans are a rich part of our history and a valued part of our future,” said Pensacola State College President Ed Meadows. “When we opened our doors in 1948, the college welcomed Pensacola’s young men and women recently returning from World War II. Since that time, thousands upon thousands of veterans and their family members have attended Pensacola State College.”

Colleges and universities were given the Military Friendly designation after being judged in categories such as efforts to recruit and retain military and veteran students, results in recruiting military and veteran students, and academic accreditation.

Programs for veterans at PSC include Veterans Upward Bound. PSC is the only college in Florida that offers this program. Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education, it provides eligible veterans with services such as free tutoring for college prep or GED courses.

“We offer three levels of classes to get them up to speed to take their placement tests and get started,” said Keith Wise, academic coordinator for Veterans Upward Bound.

Eligible veterans may also receive assistance with textbooks and supplies.

Perhaps as important as the academic assistance is the effort made to help veterans assimilate into the college community. The Veterans Upward Bound facilities, located in Building 6, provide a place for veterans to come together as they begin or renew their journey into higher education.

“Veterans are a special population,” said Nikkol Wymer, administrative assistant for Veterans Upward Bound. “Most are used to the camaraderie you find in the military that you don’t find in the civilian world.”

The recent addition of a veteran’s lounge for eating, studying, or just visiting, “provides them the opportunity to build that camaraderie in the college environment,” said Wymer.

Other benefits and programs offered to veterans through PSC include: the GI Bill, Pell Grant, Dr. G.B. Tamburello Endowed Scholarship; Ross C. Shiver Endowed Scholarship; My Career Advancement Account, Purple Heart waiver, and scholarships for children and spouses of deceased or disabled veterans and service members.

For Williams, PSC’s designation is “spot on.” He said everyone he’s met at the school —  from the academic counselors to his instructors — has encouraged him.

“They are more understanding than I thought they were going to be,” he said. “They take the time to explain, and are willing to meet with me after class. Going to PSC has been a great decision.”

For more information about Pensacola State’s programs for veterans, contact Veteran Services at (850) 484-1670 or Veterans Upward Bound at (850) 484-2068.