California has one of the largest veteran populations conservatively estimated at over two million people. Given the recent massive budget cuts in the U.S. Department of Defense and significant decreases in deployments, the number of veterans returning to civilian life and entering California's institutions of higher education is projected to increase significantly with community colleges absorbing the largest number of students. With the increase in veteran student enrollment, Citrus College understands the importance of meeting the needs of this unique population that has sacrificed so much.
One of the biggest issues facing combat veterans is social isolation. Many of combat veterans have difficulty adjusting to civilian life, especially adjusting to college. We have over 500 veterans on campus, most have just recently returned from Iraq (OIF) or Afghanistan (OEF).
The Veterans Success Center facilitates direct services by filling a significant gap offered by the VA and local resources by offering assistance to veterans who are in distress and who might otherwise forgo seeking help. The Veterans Success Center provides a wraparound holistic approach to serving veterans and their families. By offering mental health services in a centralized "one-stop shop" model, veterans and their families are able to access assistance as needed, receiving help sooner than the 30-90 day wait period at the VA. Given that many of these families face significant barriers to gaining access to proper mental health care and educational transitional support services, distressed veterans and their families are more likely to be assessed and receive intervention in a relevant time frame.
Citrus College was the first college in nation to offer a transferable three unit transitional course for veterans. The Veterans Success Center, centrally located on campus, is a natural extension of the service provided to our veteran students. Our center is state-of-the-art in services and atmosphere.
Funding for the Veterans Success Center has come from our Walmart grant, the U.S. Department of Education FIPSE grant, the Ahmanson Foundation, the Ludwick Family Foundation, local and community businesses, and charitable gifts from many individuals.