Tester, Rounds Lead Bipartisan Effort to Expand Critical Program for Student Veterans Nationwide
Lawmakers introduce bipartisan bill to ensure at least one VetSuccess On Campus counselor is located in every state; establish VetSuccess on Campus program in Montana and South Dakota
Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and U.S. Senator Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) are introducing bipartisan legislation to expand the VetSuccess on Campus (VSOC) program for veterans nationwide who are pursuing higher education.
The Senators’ Ensuring VetSuccess On Campus Act of 2023 would ensure at least one VSOC counselor is located at a higher education institution in each state—including in states like Montana and South Dakota that are currently lacking a VSOC program. It also gives VA more flexibility to allow schools with smaller veteran populations to join the program, while still giving priority to colleges and universities with larger student veteran populations.
“The VetSuccess on Campus program plays a critical role in ensuring student veterans get the support they need as they transition from military to civilian life and careers,” said Tester. “We’ve got to be doing everything we can to set up our fighting men and women to succeed after their time in uniform, and expanding this program’s footprint to Montana and beyond will help us achieve that.”
“Our service members, veterans and their families have put their lives on hold to defend our nation,” said Rounds. “It is crucial they have adequate resources to assist them once their service is completed. I am pleased to join Chairman Tester in introducing this bipartisan legislation that aims to help service members and veterans make the transition from military service and accomplish their education and career goals.”
The VSOC program delivers on-campus counseling, benefits assistance, and transition services for student veterans—helping prepare them to enter the civilian workforce. The VSOC program is currently located at 104 schools nationwide, serving more than 85,000 student veterans. VSOC counselors also ensure veterans receive the support they need to pursue their education and employment goals, help veterans arrange any disability accommodations, and provide referrals for VA health services.
“Bringing a VA Vet Success On Campus (VSOC) position to Montana to work with our student-veterans will bring needed support to our state,” said Pat Beckwith, Director of Military and Veteran Services at the University of Montana. “The VSOC will help deliver critical services that maximize veteran performance during college and into their next profession. This is exactly the kind of personalized support Montana needs from the VA to better serve veterans as they transition out of the military.”