By ERIC TEEL
Military veterans are an important and underrepresented part of the student body here at Pima Community College.
To understand what it is like to be a military veteran attending PCC, I interviewed Rey Marinas, the president of Pima’s Student Veterans Organization.
Rey is a 29 year old veteran of the U.S. Army infantry who served from 2010 to 2013. He was stationed in Afghanistan before being medically retired.
“My job was a Striker gunner, so I just sat on top of a truck shooting a 50 cal. machine gun,” he said. “I started at Pima in January 2016, then I took some time off and started again in May of last year. I became the president of the club in November in 2016.”
When asked about his experience at Pima from his perspective as a student veteran, Marinas replied, “The first time I came to Pima I didn’t know nothing, I was in the dark. Then when I came back this last time I was introduced to a few people in Project SOAR. Project SOAR has been really helpful. Im part of their program where they help me with tutoring and offer a whole bunch of different services. I have a pen that records my lectures.”
Project SOAR is a program that offers personalized tutoring in a wide variety of subjects to students attending Pima Community College.
Marinas experience at Pima was not without its criticisms though. “I don’t feel that Pima is actually out there recruiting veterans. I know they’re coming out with a new grant program called Upward Bound, so they are starting a program that should have started last October. It’s where someone goes out into the community and tries to find the veterans. I don’t think Pima is doing too much stuff right now but they are starting to.”
The Veterans Upward Bound grant for 125 first generation and/or low-income veterans at Pima Community College is designed to allow veterans to access free services at the school, according to Tucson News Now.
Services included in the $1.32 million grant:
- Academic, financial and career counseling.
- Instruction, tutoring and refresher courses.
- Help navigating veteran benefits.
- Help with college/university and financial aid applications.
- College prep and tutoring services.
- High school equivalency and GED test preparation.
- Community referrals for veteran support services.
Pima also is exploring marketing its classes to members of the National Guard and Reserves through the Pearson Online Learning Services. This would allow PCC to market online classes to prospective students in different states and countries.
In return for recruiting and enrolling veterans in Pima classes, Pearson would receive 60 percent of revenue generated by these new students, with Pima receiving 40 percent of the revenue.
PCC is projected to receive $6,691 in revenue through the partnership this year, with projected revenue in 2021 rising to $55,694, according to the March 7, 2018 grant.
The grant currently is open to qualifying veterans and their family members. For more information, call 206-7637.