Navigating the cultural transition from military service to civilian life can be emotionally and financially challenging, as well as fraught with such practical concerns as housing, employment, and education. UCI prides itself on serving those who have served, creating a welcoming and inclusive environment that supports both their social reintegration and their higher education journeys.
Serving Those Who Served
As the UCI department spearheading support for service members transitioning to student life at UCI, the Veterans Services Center (VSC) creates pathways to meet the essential needs of military-connected students – veterans, reservists, National Guard, active duty, and their families – by helping them obtain their U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), and California Department of Veterans Affairs (CalVet) education benefits and spearheading services and events designed to support their educational goals. The VSC is the campus liaison to federal and state entities in matters related to VA education benefits for our military-connected students. Equally important, through strategic advocacy we assist military-connected students in navigating their transition to student life at UCI.
UCI is ranked No. 8 on U.S. News & World Report’s “Top Public Colleges for Veterans” and a “Top Veteran-Serving School” by U.S. Veterans Magazine.
The VSC is proud to share that the military-connected student community at UCI includes more than 700 undergraduate and graduate students. A large share of the population we serve are family members of veterans and service members, also known as dependents. As well as acknowledging our dependent students and the challenges they face, it is important to understand the sacrifices that were made by these students’ military and veteran family members. Their sacrifice and military service have enabled dependent students to achieve their academic goals at UCI, undoubtedly providing higher education access to many of our students who may otherwise not be able to.
Help Us Achieve Our Unique Mission
Your generous gifts will support often overlooked and misunderstood military-connected students through various programs and services designed to have a positive and direct impact on their enrollment, retention, graduation, and workforce or graduate school transition.
- Veterans Day Ceremony: An annual campuswide event to honor and recognize our nation’s military veterans for their service and sacrifice. During this event, the VSC works with local Armed Forces units to host static displays of military vehicles and a flyover to foster greater understanding and awareness of our military veterans and their contributions to society.
- Veterans and Military Families Graduation: This event is an annual opportunity to celebrate and recognize graduating military-connected students for achieving their educational goals. Graduates are given an opportunity to share this special moment with their families and receive a Patriot Cord to wear during their UCI Commencement.
- Warrior Scholar Project: Every year, in partnership with the Warrior Scholar Project, UCI hosts military veterans from across the nation on the rigors of academia and how to best prepare for their transition from the military to higher education. This program is an immersive one-week college-preparatory academic boot camp offered at no cost to participants. UCI instructors volunteer their time and facilitate lectures, study skill workshops, writing assignments, and academic tutoring.
- VetNet Ally Awareness Campaign: This campuswide campaign was developed as a faculty and staff awareness program designed to: educate members of the university community on how to support this misunderstood population, foster a supportive campus atmosphere, and to establish a strong network of visible allies for military-connected students.
- Special Programs and Workshops: In addition to the above major programs, your contributions will help us develop the following initiatives: Leadership Success Seminar, Workforce Success Series, Networking Socials, and Wellbeing Workshops. These programs are designed to assist the development and wellbeing of our military-connected students and to prepare them for life after graduating from UCI.
A Story of Courage and Determination
Military veteran and UCI fourth-year student Eric Perez, 36, grew up in Santa Ana, California watching his peers succumb to gang life and end up in prison. Intent on a different future, he joined the U.S. Marine Corps at 21. After leaving the service, Perez enrolled at Norco College in 2013. He later transferred to UCI, majoring in both sociology and Chicano/Latino studies. “Veterans bring a unique and valuable perspective to the campus community. The leadership skills and strengths they have gained in the military are real assets,” said Adelí Durón, former director of the Veteran Services Center. “Student veterans often have different life circumstances — being married, having children, supporting a mortgage — and don’t always have the time to attend traditional campus events, so our center emphasizes what we can do for them in other ways, like scholarships, guaranteed housing and priority registration.”
This UCI Giving Day 2023, Support Our Military-Connected Students
Help us achieve our unique mission by making a gift to the Military Student Program Fund in support of the Veteran Services Center. Every contribution sponsors our military-connected students to meet their educational goals and to improve upon their life circumstances. Please join us as we serve those who have sacrificed so much for our communities and our nation, in times of war and in times of peace.