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News: PCC Ranks Eight Nationwide in Best for Veterans List

The Military Times has ranked Pasadena City College (PCC) eighth in the nation as a veterans-friendly two-year college. The publication’s 2013 “Best for Veterans” ranking, which reviewed submissions from more than 650 schools nationwide, determined PCC’s placement based on the impact of its Veterans Resource Center (VRC) and campus policies. Within the category of two-year colleges (of which 23 were recognized with a formal ranking), PCC was the highest-ranked California community college and placed third nationwide in terms of graduation rates. 

The VRC served more than 760 veterans last year and offers resources ranging from free tutoring to psychological services. The center, which first opened its doors in 2010, has undergone extensive developments that have helped establish PCC as a premier choice for veterans.

“We have adopted a more pro-active case management model by partnering with a variety of outside veterans service providers,” said Patricia D’Orange-Martin, PCC counselor and coordinator of the VRC. “This innovative approach has allowed us to address our student-veteran’s issues so they can continue their academic careers and succeed.”

A sample of recent developments tailored toward veterans’ scholarly endeavors includes the implementation of the Veterans Learning Collaborative (a 12-unit veterans learning community with veterans-only courses) in 2011 and the “SmartPEN” program (a device that facilitates note-taking and lecture listening for veterans with traumatic brain injuries or learning disabilities) this past spring.

The VRC’s reach, however, goes beyond academic support and also seeks to ensure that veterans achieve a stable footing and positive transition to civilian life. “In the last year, we have successfully assisted PCC student veterans in securing thousands of dollars in various emergency funding, disability back-pay, unemployment benefits back-pay, food banks, suits/professional work clothes, gas cards, utility bills, hotel vouchers and temporary housing, permanent housing, emergency car repairs, and more,” D’Orange-Martin said.

PCC’s veteran-friendly practices and other campus policies were considered by the Military Times in determining the placement of PCC in their rankings. Additional considerations included the number of veterans staff on campus, relaxed residency standards, whether a campus grants academic credit for military training, and the default rates among loan recipients (PCC was tied for first place in terms of the lowest default rates among ranked two-year colleges).

The PCC community can expect the campus’s ascension on national rankings to continue, especially in light of upcoming developments such as the “VetSuccess on Campus” program. The program, which makes PCC one of only seven California colleges chosen by the U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs, will be placing a full-time vocational rehabilitation counselor at the VRC. As these and other programs are implemented, our student veterans will be confident knowing that their wellbeing and educational goals are in good hands at PCC. 

Release Date: 07/24/2013
Contact: Juan F. Gutierrez , Director of Public Relations
Phone: (626) 585-7264
Email: jfgutierrez@pasadena.edu