Walters State Community College (WSCC) has again been named a Military Friendly College by G.I. Jobs. The college was chosen based on services available for veterans and students on active duty or in reserve/national guard units. Currently, over 200 students are attending the college through veteran’s educational benefits, including the Post 9/11 G.I. Bill.
“Providing our country’s veterans with educational opportunities has been at the core of Walters State’s mission since the college opened in 1970. Seeing that reflected with this national distinction is very rewarding,” said Dr. Wade McCamey, president of Walters State. “We seek to serve veterans and their dependents at any stage of life,” McCamey added.
Calvin Cox is one of those veterans. He will graduate from Walters State in December with an associate’s degree in psychology and plans to continue his education with the goal of serving other veterans as a counselor. Cox joined the Army in 2008 and spent five years with a military intelligence unit. His time included a deployment to Iraq with First Corp.
“My unit worked closely with Iraqi forces toward the end of the war,” Cox said.
“I am very appreciative of having the opportunity to serve and I gained valuable experience while stationed in Iraq and at Fort Lewis (Washington),” Cox said.
“I want an education that will complement my experience to help me serve others.”
His advice to other veterans who are considering college?
“You only have so many years to use your educational benefits and then, they’re gone forever. You can never get them back. You have earned those benefits and you should use them. If you’re not sure what you want to do, just take some general education courses. Something will excite you,” Cox said.
Cox also said one of the benefits offered to veterans at Walters State is a one-on-one “individualized certification process” with Linda Mason, veterans service officer.
“She spent time with me and let me know what all of my options were. And the faculty have been great, too,” Cox said.
Mason said some veterans may be eligible for more than one chapter of benefits such as the Montgomery G.I. Bill and the Post 9/11 G.I. Bill.
“It is important that each student pick the right chapter that will benefit him or her the most,” Mason said.
“I talk with each student and discuss their long-term educational goal and then let him or her decide which is the best benefit package. I want to take the time and make sure they have all the information needed to make the right decision,” Mason said.
“One way we are improving our service now is recruiting faculty members from each division to serve as volunteer veterans advisors. These faculty members are willing to serve as academic advisors or to assist veterans when a problem arises,” Mason said.
Mason echoes Cox’s advice to veterans considering the transition to student.
“Use your benefits. You have earned them and the education you receive can greatly improve your life. Don’t let your benefits expire before deciding to attend college.”
For more information, contact Mason at Linda.Mason@ws.edu or 423-585-2693. Walters State also has a webpage dedicated to veterans: http://www.ws.edu/student-services/veterans-affairs/.
Over 6,200 credit and 4,000 non-credit students attend Walters State. The college has campuses in Morristown, Greeneville, Sevierville and Tazewell. It offers over 100 associate degrees and technical certificates. Visit Walters State’s website at ws.edu.