By Peter J. Gravett
California Department of Veterans Affairs
Alumnus of CSU Long Beach
For many the military has been an avenue of opportunity. There is no better way to take advantage of those opportunities that through the benefit of a college education.
Shortly after I joined the Los Angeles Police Department in 1962, when I was still in the Army National Guard, I decided to continue my education and chose to attend Long Beach State University, as it was known then, and I have been grateful for that opportunity ever since. The education I received at Long Beach State, prepared me for a career both in law enforcement and military service to this state and nation.
For those men and women returning home from the service today, there is great opportunity through the use of the Post 9-11 GI Bill to provide veterans with tuition, housing allowance that will provide nearly $2,175 a month for housing in the Los Angeles/Long Beach area, and a $1,000 stipend to cover books and fees.
There were many options available when I attended Long Beach State. Since that time many new majors, fields of study, training opportunities and options have been added to the curriculum. When I talk to returning veterans, typically there are four things that are of concern; finding a job, continuing their education, finding adequate and affordable housing and ensuring their health needs are met. By taking advantage of the benefits offered under the new GI Bill, many of these concerns can be addressed.
Those of us working with veterans every day realize that education opens the door for veterans and provides opportunities, that is why we have begun the Governor’s Interagency Council on Veterans to ensure those opportunities are not missed.
We recently signed an agreement with the Community Colleges in California that will make it easier for veterans to be admitted to the college nearest their home. We also are working with the CSU Chancellors Office and will continue work with the leadership of UC system to ensure that veterans in the Golden State receive the opportunity to take advantage of one of the greatest higher education systems in the world.
We won’t give up on helping you succeed. The only thing you have to do is ensure that you don’t give up on your dreams.
Note: The California State University is known as one of the most veteran-friendly universities in the country. In a video message, CSU Chancellor Charles B. Reed and students share the ways the university helps veterans earn a degree and establish a productive career following their service. Watch the video »