NECC Observer

The student news website of Northern Essex Community College, Haverhill and Lawrence, Mass.

Vet Center lends a hand

A women and a man standing next to each other in front of flags Photo by Brennan Cooney

Whitney Scofield and John Washington pose in the NECC Veteran’s Service Center

Center helps servicemen and women gain GI benefits

The NECC Veterans’ Center, located in room 214 of the main Student Center, is a valuable on-campus resource for any NECC student who has served, or is serving, in the United States military.  Here veteran students can receive academic support, career and counseling services, and access to several tools that help vets navigate college life.

“Here veteran students can receive academic support, career and counseling services, and access to several tools that help vets navigate college life.”

The Veterans’ Center staff consists entirely of student veterans as well. John Washington, in the second week of his work-study at the Vet Center, is a 26 year military veteran who served in the Army, Navy, and Air Force.  For now, the Center operates on a walk-in only basis, and Washington said he “assists vets, as they come in.”

An NECC Business Management major, Washington spends the bulk of his workday helping veteran students obtain their certificate of eligibility for their GI Bill benefits.  The Montgomery and Post 9/11 GI Bills guarantee Americans who have completed their service obligation to the military a full, free four-year university education, so long as the institution is public, or is otherwise specifically sanctioned by the military.  The Post 9/11 GI Bill also provides a housing allowance, so veterans can focus the majority of their energy on their education.

Kyle Shaw, currently serving in the Massachusetts Air National Guard, and enrolled in the NECC police academy program, said he would not be able to attend school without his educational benefits. On the administrative side of the Vet Center, Whitney Scofield, a Hospitality and Tourism major, and Navy veteran, works with the Veterans’ Affairs Administration in Buffalo, NY to help narrow down exactly what monetary benefits student veterans are entitled to. “There are a lot of different subsets to what veterans’ benefits could be, especially for education, as there are a lot of different chapters (specific benefit-plan selections)” and said that staff in the Vet Center are trained and well-versed in VA policy to better assist those who have served.​