San Diego and its education opportunities ranked top among veterans

deployment-send-off-to-afghan-(1).jpgCaptain Lee Jones embraces his three-week-old daughter, Skylar, prior to embarking on an eight-month deployment to Afghanistan as part of the U.S. Marine Corps. Jones, now stationed at U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, will soon transition into non-military life. He is a recent applicant of UC San Diego Extension and its project-management certificate, offered in conjunction with the online master’s option through the University of Wisconsin.

The hardships military service members and their families endure throughout their careers are among the many reasons citizens unite each year to honor them during Veterans Day. For the other 364 days of the year, a few cities work compassionately to provide a better quality of life for residing veterans, and dedicate services and opportunities to help improve transitions following service.

Hosting the most military bases throughout the country, it’s no wonder that California is home to some of the highest-ranked cities for veterans.

According to the recent report released by WalletHub, San Diego took the top-ranking spot as the most livable city in the perspective-environment, educational-opportunities and health-care categories for veterans. Bordering Chula Vista also ranked high at 12th overall, and was within the top 10 for education and top five for highest veteran income growth.

Although some areas throughout the Southwest have experienced substantial benefit offerings for service members, nationwide, WalletHub contributor Richie Bernardo reports they still remain in short supply. As of October 2015, of the 21.1 million military veterans residing in the U.S., about 422,000 are currently unemployed, with a large majority suffering from disabilities as a result of active-duty service.

In a 2013 report featured as part of a study conducted by PBS to promote its program, “Stories of Service,” it was revealed that nearly 60 percent of veterans who retired in 2012 due to service-connected disability were 35 or younger.

Younger veterans have substantially different needs than their older comrades and are in more need of education and employment opportunities to help them reach goals set for the next phase of their lives.

As detailed in WalletHub’s report, there are several factors that contribute to a better quality of life for veterans.  In an effort to reduce the alarming unemployment rates, education remains one of the most important factors to further develop military skills and meet the latest career trends.

Contributing to this need, UC San Diego Extension offers a variety of veteran benefits. This includes the California Veteran College Tuition Fee Waiver and the following benefit programs:

  • Chapter 30 - Montgomery GI Bill – Active Duty (MGIB-AD)

  • Chapter 31 - Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Program (VR&E)

  • Chapter 33 - Post 9/11 GI Bill

  • Chapter 35 - Dependent Educational Assistance (DEA)

  • Chapter 1606 - Montgomery GI Bill – Selected Reserves (MGIB-SR)

In addition, UC San Diego Extension accepts Military Spouse Career Advancement Accounts (MYCAA). Due to constant relocations and challenges associated with “single parenting” during deployments, it’s often difficult for spouses of active-duty service members to secure long-term employment while their partner serves. The program affords military spouses $4,000 in financial assistance to complete various certificate programs designed to assist with skill development for career placement.

For additional resources for veterans and service members offered at UC San Diego Extension, visit or e-mail at

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