Initiated in 2012, the Veterans Education Program provides veterans with access to higher education opportunities through Fresno State. Housed in the Division of Continuing and Global Education, the program equips current or past service members with a parallel admission route into the University.
“The ultimate goal of this program is to provide higher education to a group of individuals who otherwise would not have the opportunity to attend Fresno State,” said Dr. Daniel Bernard, executive director of Continuing and Global Education.
All course sections are cohort-based, designed specifically for veterans, and include accelerated college preparatory and transition classes. The curriculum includes what the CSU system has labeled the “golden four” of undergraduate courses; they include, critical thinking, oral communication, English, and math.
Bernard has been involved with the Veterans Education Program since its inception, co-authoring the grant from the CSU Commission on the Extended University. The idea for the program, Bernard said, came about when a triple Purple Heart recipient asked now Provost Lynnette Zelezny and Dr. Scott Moore, dean of Continuing and Global Education, how Fresno State was helping returning veterans.
While there was already an outstanding team at Fresno State dedicated to veteran services, the Division knew they could be doing even more to serve the Central Valley population. The most surprising aspect of working with this impactful program, Bernard said, is the journey many of its participants take to get to Fresno State.
“They demonstrate incredible resilience and determination to become college graduates,” Bernard said. Army National Guard Veteran Anthony Meza was denied admission to the CSU system because of space limitations. Meza qualified for the Veterans Education Program, however, and was able to enroll in Fresno State as a result. “I was in disbelief up until after the first day of class,” Meza said of the opportunity.