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Veterans Q&A

Jump to Q&A for Course Information and College Credit | Resources and Support ServicesVeteran-to-Veteran Programs

Veterans Benefits

I would like to learn about benefits for which I might be eligible as a Veteran and/or a Veteran dependent. What should I do?

The SUNY Schenectady Veterans’ Resource Office (Elston Hall, Room 220H) can provide you with general information about some of the benefits that are available to Veterans and military dependents. The Office works closely with Mr. Tyrone Waklatsi, a Benefits Advisor from NYS Division of Veterans’ Affairs. His office is located at Albany Stratton VA Medical Center. However, periodically, he comes to campus for private appointments. He can provide you with answers to your benefit-specific questions and assist you in filing related paperwork. Tyrone Waklatsi can be contacted directly by phone at 518-626-5776 or email Tyrone.Waklatsi@veterans.ny.gov.

Is there an easy way to check my VA benefits?

Registering at the following website will allow you to access as well as manage your VA benefits and health care: https://www.va.gov/. For example, once registered, you will be able to check Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits, view payment history, change your educational benefits, schedule VA health care appointments, file a disability claim, access your VA medical records, request military records, etc.

Is there a website that provides information about educational benefits through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs?

The following webpage has a great deal of information about benefits: https://benefits.va.gov/gibill/

I would like to utilize benefits through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to pay for my education at SUNY Schenectady. What should I do?

The Veterans' Certifying Official, Mrs. Anna Westerman, is the key person to contact on the SUNY Schenectady campus. She can assist you in the application process at the College. Find more information for Veterans.

Where can I find SUNY Schenectady’s Veterans' Certifying Official?

The Certifying Official is located in the Student Affairs Office, Elston Hall, Room 222. She can be contacted by phone at 518-381-1200 ext. 1185 or barthap@sunysccc.edu.

When is the best time to contact the Veterans' Certifying Official if I plan to use VA educational benefits?

It is a good idea to make contact as soon as you know that you would like to begin classes at SUNY Schenectady. Early contact will give you time to explore your potential benefits and gather the required documentation.

Do I need to contact the Veterans' Certifying Official if I already applied for VA educational benefits?

If you have already applied for VA educational benefits, you will need to meet with the Certifying Official to submit proof of your status as a Veteran or dependent of a Veteran.

Do I need to see the Veterans' Certifying Official if I already met with her in a previous semester?

Yes, continuing students need to resubmit applications for benefits at the beginning of each semester. The certification request form can be obtained in the Student Affairs Office (Elston Hall, Room 222) or found online.

Does the Veterans’ Certifying Official process documentation for all educational benefits?

No, the Veterans’ Certifying Official only processes documentation for educational benefits obtained through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Does New York State have any financial aid programs that are Veteran-specific?

New York State offers Veterans Tuition Awards (VTA) to eligible Veterans for full-time and part-time study, as well as the New York's Military Enhanced Recognition Incentive and Tribute (MERIT) Scholarship.

Where should I go if I want more information about the MERIT Scholarship or VTA?

The Financial Aid Office in Elston Hall, Room 222 processes both VTA and MERIT awards. For information about those awards, visit the office or call 518-381-1468.

Are there any websites that provide information about financial aid benefits for members of the National Guard or Naval Militia in New York?

New York State has a program called the Recruitment Incentive and Retention Program (RIRP) for members of the Army National Guard, Air National Guard, and Naval Militia. Application and deadline information can be found at the New York State Division of Military and Naval Affairs website.

Which SUNY Schenectady office processes the RIRP benefits for National Guard and Naval Militia members?

The RIRP benefits are processed through the Student Business Office (Elston Hall, Room 219, 518-381-1346). In order to process this benefit at the College, you must provide documentation of your application or award to a Student Business Office staff member.

When would the Financial Aid Office and Veterans' Certifying Official work together on my behalf?

The Veterans’ Certifying Official and the Financial Aid Office work in coordination with each other when you apply for funding through both offices. It is important to note that funding through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs can impact eligibility for other funding. For example, students who receive 100% funding for schooling through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs are not eligible for New York State's TAP program.

Are there any scholarships and other funding sources that are military-specific?

Yes, there are military-specific scholarships. The SUNY Schenectady Financial Aid website will give you links to potential military and non-military funding sources. The Veterans Resource Office (Elston Hall, Room 220H) maintains a list of additional scholarships specific for Veterans and their dependents.

If my home state is not New York and I am a Veteran, Active Military member, or dependent of Active Military, with whom should I speak concerning eligibility for in-state tuition?

Please speak with someone from the Student Business Office (Elston Hall, Room 219) about your eligibility. Veterans as well as Active Military members and their dependents are eligible for in-state tuition.

Course Information and College Credit

Can I get college credit for my military experience, training, and education?

SUNY Schenectady will evaluate your military transcripts (i.e., Joint Services Transcript and Community College of the Air Force Transcript). These transcripts include information about the military courses you completed, your military occupation(s), college-level test scores on record, and other learning experiences recorded through the military. SUNY Schenectady will provide as much transfer credit as possible in accordance with your program of study and College policies. Transcript evaluation is done through SUNY Schenectady's Registrar’s Office in consultation with the academic deans. Individuals in the Veterans Resource Office (Elston Hall, Room 220H) can show you how to access and forward your official military transcripts through https://www.va.gov/.

What kinds of college-credit programs does SUNY Schenectady offer?

SUNY Schenectady offers three types of college-credit programs: (1) short-term certificate programs that can be completed in one year and are designed to upgrade the students' career-related skills or prepare them for immediate entry into a particular occupation, (2) associate degree career-oriented programs that can be completed in two years and are designed to prepare students for immediate employment upon graduation, and (3) associate degree programs that can be completed in two years and are designed to prepare students to transfer to a four-year college or university. See a listing of the specific degree and certificate programs that SUNY Schenectady offers.

What kinds of non-credit courses does SUNY Schenectady offer?

SUNY Schenectady's Office of Workforce Development and Community Education offers non-credit education, training, and enrichment programs that are industry demand-driven. Some students combine their credit-bearing program with non-credit classes to increase their marketability. 

Resources and Support Services

How is course registration done?

Registration can be done online or in-person with an advisor. In either case, you must contact your advisor to get an advisor pin number. Please note: Veterans and Active Military members are eligible to register for classes the day before open registration begins. If you are not registered with SUNY Schenectady’s Certifying Official, please bring your DD214 or other Government Identification documenting your veteran/military status to the Veterans’ Resource Office (Elston Hall, Room 220H) to verify your veteran/military status at least four business days before registration is to begin.

Where can I get guidance in selecting and registering for courses?

The Advisement Center has professionals who meet and provide guidance to students selecting and registering for classes. Information is shared about SUNY Schenectady’s programs of study as well as transfer opportunities. All students are assigned an advisor who specializes in their program of study. The Advisement Center is located in Elston Hall, Room 222. Its Assistant Director is Ms. Mitzi Espinola. Anna Westerman is both an academic advisor in the Advisement Center and the Veterans’ Certifying Official. Consequently, she can give you information related to how the courses you take or drop may impact your educational benefits. For further information about the Advisement Center, call 518- 381-1277 or email academicadvisement@sunysccc.edu.

How do I arrange for disability accommodations?

Students who require accommodations should register with the Office of ADA Transition Services. Ms. Susanna Adams, the Coordinator of this Office, can be reached by email  at adamssj@sunysccc.edu or phone at 518-381-1345. Her office is located within the Office Student Affairs, Elston Hall, Room 222.

What kinds of accommodations for disabilities are available?

Accommodations vary depending on the disability. For example, students with traumatic brain injury might audio record classes and get extra time on exams. Those with post-traumatic stress disorder might arrange to sit close to the classroom door. Accommodations are individually developed with each student.

What technology does SUNY Schenectady have to support accommodations for disabilities?

SUNY Schenectady has text to speech software (i.e., Kurzweil, Read & Write Gold), screen readers (i.e., JAWS, Windows Eyes), speech to text software (i.e., Dragon Naturally Speaking), and computer screen magnifying software (i.e., ZoomText). The College also has a limited number of LiveScribe Smartpens available for loan on a first come first serve basis.

Are there any other programs or services at SUNY Schenectady for students with disabilities?

SUNY Schenectady receives federal funding for TRIO, a federal program aimed at serving low-income individuals, first-generation college students, and individuals with disabilities. Individuals accepted into this program work with a TRIO advisor, attend workshops designed to promote college success, and receive instructional support from professional tutors, when appropriate. Limited scholarship money is available through this program to qualified students. For further information, call Ms. Aubrey Seppa-Hodgkins, TRIO Director, at 518-381-1463, visit the Office located in Elston Hall, Room 328. 

What do students do if they want to speak with someone about personal concerns?

Ms. Robyn King, Counselor, offers wellness counseling. These appointments are geared for the individual who may feel overwhelmed or wants to problem-solve personal issues. Robyn King's role is not that of a long-term therapist. In situations where long-term therapy seems appropriate, referrals to outside agencies are made. Wellness Counseling appointments can be made by talking to the Student Affairs secretary in Elston Hall, Room 222 or phoning her at 518-381-1365.

Are there any programs for students who are new to college?

The Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) serves full-time students who are attending college for the first time. The Program provides academic resources and modest financial aid to eligible students. For further information about the Program and its eligibility criteria, call Jeff Aranda, Director of EOP, at 518-381-1279.

How does a student arrange for tutoring?

Individual tutoring sessions are available in-person and online for full-time and part-time students. More information can be found on the Tutor Services page. For further information, please phone 518-381-1461, email tutorservices@sunysccc.edu, or visit the Tutoring Services Office in Elston Hall, Room 522.

Does the VA provide any tutoring services?

Veterans who are receiving benefits through the VA Vocational Rehabilitation Program should speak with their Vocational Rehabilitation counselor for information about tutoring that can be arranged through their VA benefits.

Are there any drop-in tutoring services or general academic support programs?

Yes, drop-in tutoring is available in a variety of locations: (1) Accounting and CIS Lab (Elston Hall, Room 330) provides drop-in tutoring for accounting and computer-related courses; (2) Learning Center/Writing Center (Elston Hall, Room 523) offers walk-in tutoring in a limited number of subjects. Academic assistance in reading and study skills as well as consultations on written assignments are also provided.For further information about these academic services, contact Ms. Michelle Ragucci, Director of Academic Services, at 518-381-1249 or raguccml@sunysccc.edu.

What resources does the College have to assist me in getting a job and gaining experience in my field of interest?

SUNY Schenectady's Office of Career Services offers a variety of services. Their professional staff are available to review your resume and give you pointers for successful interviewing. They can assist you in finding internships, volunteer placements, as well as on and off-campus employment. A listing of these opportunities can be viewed at the College Central Network website. The Office is located in Elston Hall, Room 221i (i.e., The Opportunity Zone). For further information, phone 518-836-2807 or email cts@sunysccc.edu.

What other resources does the Office of Career Services offer?

Professionals within this Office are available for career assessment and advisement for those students unsure of their career path. More information about these services can be obtained by phoning Ms. Dawn Jones, Assistant Director of Career Services, at 518-381-1334 or emailing her at jonesda@sunysccc.edu.

Are there any programs that support business growth?

Start-Up NY is a job development initiative that connects business development and education. To learn more about the College’s Start-Up NY campus plan and program, contact the Office of Workforce Development and Community Education at 518-595-1101.

Are there any Veteran-specific programs in the community that support business development?

The Veterans Business Outreach Center offers transitioning Service Members, Veterans, and military spouses various programs free of charge for those who want to start, purchase, or grow a business. Further information can be obtained at U.S. Small Business Administration's Veterans Business Outreach Center website

Veteran-to-Veteran Programs

Is there a student club for Veterans?

Yes, SUNY Schenectady has a local chapter of Student Veterans of America (SVA). Please call 518-381-1282 for further information.

Is there an office specifically designated for Veterans on the SUNY Schenectady campus?

Yes, the Veterans' Resource Office is located in Elston Hall, Room 220H. With two computers and a couple of soft chairs for sitting and relaxing, the Office offers a place to connect with other Veterans or family members of Veterans and learn about Veteran-specific resources and programs within and outside the campus community (e.g., resources for employment, benefits, recreation, health and wellness, etc.). The Office is staffed by student Veterans and works closely with local Veteran agencies, often inviting them to campus to share information with the SUNY Schenectady community. For further information, please contact Dr. Ellen Wertlieb at 518-381-1282 or wertliec@sunysccc.edu.

Does SUNY Schenectady have any program to welcome new Veterans to the College?

Yes, please stop into the Veterans’ Resource Office (Elston Hall, Room 220H). A fellow Veteran is there to show you around campus and take you for a cup of coffee in the College’s café or cafeteria. Please contact Dr. Ellen Wertlieb (wertliec@sunysccc.edu) for further information.

Does SUNY Schenectady have a work-study program that is Veteran-specific?

Yes, SUNY Schenectady participates in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs work-study program. Students who are hired through this program work in the Veterans’ Resource Office. Individuals who are interested in a VA work-study position at the College can make further inquiry by contacting Dr. Ellen Wertlieb at 518-381-1282 or wertliec@sunysccc.edu. A description of the overall employment expectations can be found at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Work Study website.

 

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