Fresno State program helping veterans go back to school

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- In one classroom at Fresno State you will find papers and patriotism.

"So now being in a smaller class you get the direct one-on-one attention that you really need in that transition, because going back to a classroom in a regular university with 300 kids in a hall, it would be difficult to gain that same intimacy and engagement," said Dustin Chambers, Veterans Education Program student.

Airman Dustin Chambers is in the 144th Fighter Wing, but he is also one of the students in rolled in the Veterans Education Program at Fresno State.

"You'll hear the veteran say they don't pay for anything. They come for a program. They get Fresno State courses at Fresno State with Fresno State professor's right here and then never pay for a penny of it," said Dr. Daniel Bernard who oversees the program.

The program was developed to help those active members and veterans who were facing challenges in getting back to school.

"The challenges for me was having the compiled Air Force credits and also the city college credits. It was really difficult to give that to a counselor and have them say "hey, this is your road map." This is a one stop shop that we have here and it's so unique," said Chambers.

The program does not utilize the GI Bill, so service members can save those funds when they are ready for their degree and it also provides resources.

For former sailor Nathan Bryson, it is giving him a new outlook on his education.

"In a sense, this program really helped me out to help mold me to be a college student again. So by having camaraderie here with other guys-- although I haven't served with them we all have the same mentality and the same sense of brotherhood."

When the spring semesters wraps, a total of 14 students will have completed the program and become college ready.

Directors say with the generous donations of the community, they hope to help even more veterans in the future.

"They put their mind and hearts into serving and now we get to serve them," said Dr. Bernard.
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