One West University Boulevard, Brownsville, Texas 78520 | 956-882-8200
Office of Veterans Services Relocates to Enrollment Center @ the Tower
 
BROWNSVILLE, TEXASSEPTEMBER 13, 2013 Having returned just a few weeks ago from a tour of duty in Afghanistan, Joe Escobedo is back at work overseeing the Office of Veterans Services at The University of Texas at Brownsville.
 
Veterans Services is now located in the Enrollment Center @ the Tower in Main, formerly the Education and Business Complex.
 
Joe EscobedoJoe Escobedo, Coordinator of Military Student Services
Veterans Services is committed to helping current and former military students start or continue their education by providing a place to receive assistance with enrollment, registration, advising and help navigating the paperwork of the various financial aid opportunities available to veterans.
 
“It’s good to be back in my old job, and in this nice new location,” said Escobedo. “We are right in the middle of all the action.”
 
With 17 years of military service, and 13 of those on active duty, Escobedo knows what action is all about, having been deployed once to Iraq and twice to Afghanistan.
 
No longer is Sargent First Class Escobedo training soldiers in the Afghan National Army, as he did being the NCOIC [Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge] with a 12-man team did during his last tour of duty; rather, he is buried in paperwork making sure all the needs are met for the 494 veterans and 128 military dependents enrolled at UTB this fall semester.
 
“Returning as I did, right before the start of the fall semester, I just couldn’t sit at home when there was so much to do; among other things, we needed to get everyone’s certificate of enrollment reported to the state to receive their benefits,” said Escobedo, who is using his leave time to return to his position as Coordinator of Military Student Services.
 
“My two student assistants and I are here to help veterans make a smooth transition from their military experience to a college experience,” Escobedo said. “We answer questions about admissions and assist with applying for benefits, including financial aid. This is the place for veterans to come for help of any nature; if it’s out of our realm, we connect them with the appropriate resource.”
 
Escobedo says UTB has always been a military-friendly school and will not drop students from the academic rolls if their benefits are behind schedule in processing.
 
“Before I was sent to work in an advisory capacity with the Afghan National Army during this last deployment, I attended advising training at Fort Polk, Louisiana,” Escobedo said. “That was exceptional training; I used it over there, and I have been drawing upon it every day since returning when working with the students.”
 
Dr. Sylvia Leal, Vice President for Enrollment Services, said locating Veterans Services in a central location is important to providing good service for all veterans, whether starting their first semester or already on the road to their degrees.
 
Joe Escobedo in AfghanistanJoe Escobedo in Afghanistan
“We want all students – including our new and returning veterans and their dependents – to know about the convenience of the Enrollment Center at the Tower,” Leal said.
 
Escobedo serves as a good example of a veteran who has taken advantage of military benefits. In 1999, he graduated from UTB cum laude with his Bachelor of Arts in history with the assistance of the Montgomery GI Bill. Currently, he is pursuing his Master of Education with assistance from the Army Tuition Assistance Program. He transferred some unused hours from his Hazlewood Exemption to his son while he was attending UTB, and he plans to transfer his Ch. 33 (Post 9/11) education benefits to his daughter, who will be start classes at UTB in the spring 2014 semester.
 
Escobedo also wants current active duty personnel and young men and women who may be considering entering the military to be aware of Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges (SOC), an organization funded by the Department of Defense. UTB is among the participating universities, providing college education opportunities for service members stationed around the world.
 
Another veteran-focused program on the UTB campus is Veterans Upward Bound, located in room 2.28 of the Student Union on Ringgold Road. Veterans are encouraged to visit Veterans Upward Bound to seek support services such as pre/post assessment testing, academic tutoring and career counseling.
 
For more information on Veterans Upward Bound, contact David Rivera at 956-832-7127 or david.f.rivera@utb.edu.
 
For more information on Veterans Services, contact Joe Escobedo at 956-882-4205 or jose.a.escobedo@utb.edu.
 

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