BCAV is back: Student Programs welcomes veteran center

vet center1Towards the end of fall quarter, a new office was set up in Student Programs: the Bellevue College Association of Veterans center which aspires to reach out to veterans in whatever manner they can.

Previously, their office was in the K building, and their mission and resources seemed banished and unheard of.

John Dazy, the president of BCAV, has been working towards an office at Student Programs because of the prime location. It helps create more awareness for what they do and what they can offer. Among students, in particular among veterans, they hope to achieve visibility and a known presence.

A good percentage of the student body are veterans and the BCAV realizes the importance of representing this population.

It is also crucial that they reach not only veterans. All BC students may drop by, and many do, to ask for advice regarding service from experienced veterans.

The BCAV’s main function is to help connect veterans with other offices around campus and to assist them through any bureaucracy they may come across. Members assist by showing benefits and in particular explaining the manner of the GI bill.

The GI Bill is the primary way for veterans who served for a minimum three years to pay for college.

New students funded by this bill are unable to be on waiting lists. Being forced to forego classes with waiting lists prevents veterans from taking classes they might be interested in. “We’re working very closely with faculty to make priority registration happen for individuals on the post-9/11 GI Bill,” says Dazy.

This bill also includes a stipend for classes which acts as an incentive to encourage a rise in veteran graduation rates.

With the resources available and it is hopeful they will succeed, BCAV aspires to make these means known.

Financial aid is a daunting and an extremely extended progress that does not receive particular assistance at the veteran’s office in the B building. Aaron Malec, vice president of BCAV, explains how and why assistance is needed.

BCAV attempts to assist through any process, be it switching or dropping classes, to simply contacting other centers. They also hope to establish the benefits that veterans have rights to that they may not be aware of.

Dazy emphasized how there are numerous benefits individuals may never know about and never make use of.

Long-term goals include having an official center and reaching out to other student programs.

A center would be an area where veterans with shared experience and commonalities can know one another. Veterans speak of meeting each other for the first time is like meeting family they did not know they had.

It would help in encouraging further education and goals of outreach that BCAV harbors.

The BCAV is not typical: they do not have regular meetings with their members. “A vet is the definition of a non-traditional student,” says Dazy. Members tend to be of a slighter older age group and have a number of commitments outside of school.

For further information on their services and outreach programs, email BCAV at bcavpres@bellevuecollege.edu or simply visit their office in Student Programs.