The Next Mission: Veterans go to college in Southern California

The Next Mission: Veterans go to college in Southern California

Veterans return to school in Southern California

As the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan wind down, hundreds of thousands of American veterans are looking ahead to the next chapter in their lives. Many are choosing to get a college education. But they are not your typical student; a lot of vets must overcome mental trauma and physical injury while trying to adapt to the decidedly non-military environment of a college campus. Our series presents an in-depth examination of these challenges facing student vets.




Browse links and information on the GI Bill and issues affecting student veterans.



MAP: Student veteran centers

Check our map of student veterans centers in the U.S. and let us know where about centers near you.

Some veterans leaving military struggle to succeed in college

Twenty-three-year-old Desiree Escarcida enrolled in college one week after leaving the Marines. She struggled mightily at first, dropping out of one school before finding a more welcoming environment at Fullerton College.

Taking brain injuries from the battlefield to the classroom

Experts estimate there are more than 200,000 student vets with Traumatic Brain Injury in the US. UC San Diego student Richard Gilbert is one of them. The former Marine scout sniper was badly wounded in Iraq eight years ago. Now he employs a variety of systems to help him deal with his memory loss and his problems with concentration and cognition.

Student veterans and a space of their own: A tale of two schools

It’s much easier for student vets to navigate college life if their school has a centralized center coordinating all of the services available for veterans on campus. But not all schools have these centers. We visit Saddleback Community College, which does have a veterans center, and USC, which does not. Josh Jacobs (L) is president of the USC Veterans Association.

"The Next Mission" is a colloborative project between Southern California Public Radio and American Public Media's Public Insight Network.

Reported by Wendy Lee, Samara Freemark and Jeff Severns Guntzel

Edited by Paul Glickman