Vet Center at night

Programs & Services

Transition & Academic Services

3 veterans studying around a round table

The transition from a military environment to a college or university can be difficult and overwhelming for student veterans, especially for those with a disability. These services will include individualized academic coaching and tutoring that will aid in monitoring progress and addressing barriers. Specialized coursework will assist in orienting student veterans with disabilities to university processes, procedures and the new environment, as well as develop strategies for disability self-management.

Benefits and Outreach section

Benefits & Outreach Services

two men sitting in front of a computer

Navigating the benefit programs for student veterans can be daunting. These services will facilitate access to their entitled benefits and address their financial needs. Individualized financial aid and benefits counseling will be provided by a VA VetSuccess on Campus counselor and financial aid certifying official to ensure the student veterans understand their benefits and receive all that they are entitled to.

  • Post-9/11 GI Bill and Montgomery GI Bill
  • Illinois Veterans Grant
  • Vocational Rehabilitation and employment
  • Learn to maximize your benefits
Peer Mentoring section

Peer Mentoring

male and female veteran examining newspaper

Who are our Vet Connect mentors?

Vet Connect Mentors are trained student veterans who are academically successful and have been on campus for at least one year. They are familiar with assisting incoming veterans with their transition and are trained in communication skills, problem-solving, disability management and veteran-specific resources on campus and in the community.

Want to get involved?

Have more questions about being a Vet Connect Mentor or Mentee? Please contact Dr. Reggie Alston for more information.

Remember reporting to your first duty station and being assigned a unit sponsor who showed you the ropes? Vet Connect is an excellent way to link-up with currently enrolled student veterans who can assist with your transition to the University of Illinois. Vet Connect mentors can provide campus tours, introduce you to other students and members of the Illini Veterans student organization, answer questions about your transition and coordinate other support to help you feel at home.

Why is a mentor important?

  • Vet Connect mentors have been there and done that. They understand both military and university culture and can relate to your transition
  • Get information from a reliable source. You probably have a lot of questions about being a student – from University and VA policies to the best places to live, grocery shop, or study
  • Expand your network. Mentors provide firsthand experience on career fairs, professional development workshops and campus opportunities that enhance academic and professional interests
  • Get firsthand perspective on how to manage a disability from someone you can relate to.
  • Find community. Your mentor will introduce you to other veterans and keep you informed of the various social and philanthropic activities that are offered
  • Be successful. Keep in mind that the more connected you feel to the campus, the more likely you are to stay enrolled and make progress on your degree
Health & Life Skills section

Health & Life Skills Services

room filled with exercise equipment

Information on your rights as service members and veterans with disabilities can be found here.

Student veterans with newly acquired injuries are just beginning to develop an understanding of how their disability may affect their learning and integration into their new lifestyle. To support sustained health and functional management of their disabilities, these services will provide clinical diagnostic services and then follow up with education on healthy lifestyle strategies, nutrition, fitness, and adapted technologies to improve quality of life.

  • Neuropsychological testing referrals
  • Health and fitness
  • Disability management
Career & Employment section

Career & Employment Services

For veterans who sought a career in the military but were discharged due to injuries, the prospect of identifying and being prepared for a satisfying civilian career is exceptionally challenging. These services will help with career planning, translating military experience, internship and volunteer opportunities, targeted career fairs and professional development, and employment assistance.

  • Career assessment testing
  • Skills translator - translating military experience into civilian language
  • Professional mentoring
  • Resume writing, mock interviewing techniques, career fairs and professional development
young veteran in army fatigues resting in a wheelchair
Counseling & Family section

Camp Mackall Veteran Mentoring Network

Camp Mackall with big letters C and M

CampMackall Veteran Mentoring Network (CMVMN) is a yearlong program dedicated to assisting student veterans with their career development by creating opportunities for mentoring and networking with professionals from some of the nation’s finest companies. Our professional mentoring program provides a unique career development opportunity to those student veterans attending a post-secondary institution in Champaign-Urbana, from former service members to current Reservist and National Guardsmen.

CMVMN was founded by a collaboration of local veterans that have made the transition from the military to the civilian sector and understand the true importance of having a mentor that can guide one’s career path. Our objectives for the program are to:

  • Assist student veterans in their transition from the military to the civilian sector
  • Provide student veterans with opportunities to leverage their military skills and experiences in civilian careers
  • Provide student veterans with the opportunity to evaluate and enhance their current civilian career trajectory
  • Develop and strengthen a network of highly motivated student veterans and company leaders
Veterans Affairs section

Counseling & Family Services

2-year-pld girl and 3-year-old boy playing with 35-year-old man

The Center’s Policy on Confidentiality can be found here.

Veterans and their family members can experience intense challenges both in personal life and academics. Challenges often affect the entire family. Addressing the well-being and mental health of veterans and their family need attention. The Center provides individual, marital, family, and group counseling directed at student veterans and their family. The Center’s counseling services have adapted provisions from the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and the Illinois Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Confidentiality Act because they represent ethical standards in regards to privacy and confidentiality with protected health information.

Veterans Affairs section

VA Services

For military-connected students that qualify for services through the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Center can provide the following assistance onsite:

  • Vet Success on Campus (VSOC) – our VSOC Counselor, Jason Abrams, provides vocational rehabilitation to student veterans that have service-connected disabilities. While his main focus is Voc Rehab, Jason can assist all veterans in areas such as tutoring, vocational testing, employment services, and issues that arise related to billing and financial aid. Jason is a great resource for anyone looking for information about how to navigate, understand, and keep track of their VA benefits.
  • Social Work – the Center can help with enrollment or transfer into the VA Healthcare system, assist with finding a primary care provider or specialist, schedule appointments around your class schedule, and answer questions and address issues you’re having with the VA.
  • Psychological – the VA can see a veteran for any mental health-related problem; however, the Center has psychologists from the VA PTSD Clinic and who possess specialized training in evidence-based treatments for PTSD and Military Sexual Trauma.
  • Physical Therapy – this service is designed to remediate impairments and promote mobility, function, and quality of life through examination, diagnosis, prognosis, and physical intervention.
  • Speech and Language Pathology – this service provides a spectrum of support including note-taking, reading comprehension strategies, study skills, and test-taking strategies for any type of cognitive problem/difficulty (attention/concentration, memory, and/or language). The Speech Therapist is also able to provide note-taking tools (smart pens), as well as information on deployment-related factors that affect school performance.
circular insignia with eagle for Veterans affairs

For more information on these services, please contact Dr. Reggie Alston: alston@illinois.edu

Residential services section

Residential Services

bedroom with bed, closet, dresser and shelves

The Center’s third floor houses 14 fully accessible private suites with individual bathrooms. For military-connected students who want to live within a peer community, this is an excellent housing option that is conveniently located on campus. For students with severe disabilities or for those transitioning from medical rehabilitation facilities, personal assistants and a SureHands ceiling lift system can also be made available.

bedroom with Sure Hands lift system man playing guitar sitting on edge of his bed, window behind him
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