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Veteran and Military Affiliated Services

Ranked #1 in New Jersey for Military & Veteran Students!

Veteran & Military Resource Center

OCC’s V.M.R.C. has been recognized as a Center of Excellence for Veteran Student Success

Welcome military and veteran affiliated students to Ocean County College!

The transition from military to civilian life can be one of the most difficult challenges Veterans face. OCC is committed to helping you succeed with our Veteran and Military Resource Center (V.M.R.C.). The V.M.R.C. provides social, educational, recreational, mentoring, advocacy, leadership, and academic support services designed to ensure your well-being, success, retention, and graduation.

The V.M.R.C. offers a dedicated office and staff to work exclusively with military and veteran affiliated students to achieve that goal. Additionally, many of OCC’s faculty and staff are veterans themselves, so you can be confident that we know what it takes to help you succeed.

Learn more about OCC’s V.M.R.C. in the Summer/Fall 2020 Ocean Views (PDF) magazine.

For information concerning OCC’s tuition and fees for Veteran and Military Affiliated Students, please review updated policy #5335.

Lead by Example

Veterans Services Coordinator, Ryan LuurtsemaAs the Assistant Director of Military and Veteran Services, I am your point-of-contact here at the center. A fellow U.S. Army veteran, I experienced firsthand the challenges of obtaining a college degree. My undergraduate program was interrupted several times for personal and professional obligations that service members face on a daily basis. I understand the unique needs of veteran and military students and am here to help you succeed, at OCC and beyond.

You have served your country; now it’s our chance to serve you.

Ryan Luurtsema
Assistant Director, Veteran and Military Resource Center

  • Advocacy for veteran and military resources on and off campus
  • Mentoring
  • Referral to on and off campus resources
  • Peer-to-peer coaching and socializing
  • Veteran Affairs Transition Care Management availability
  • Distinct educational, recreational, and social events and opportunities catered for the Veteran and Military Services community
  • Military and Veteran transition resumes, Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) Translation Resumes, Military Resume and Cover Letter Workshops

Students can utilize OCC’s Academic Advising & Transfer Services office for assistance with class schedules, registration, graduation, and transfer.

Stop by the VMRC during our regular business hours, we are available to assist with the following:

  • Laptops
  • Fully functional ‘go-snack’ pantry for all students including:
    • Water
    • Powerade
    • Coffee and tea
  • Off-campus resource pamphlets for rehabilitation centers
  • Coaching/Mentoring
  • Clubs and organizational partners such as American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars ( VFW)

Tutoring is available to all students in the Tutoring Center, in the 2nd Floor of the Instructional Building. Students can stop by or make an appointment.

Information regarding disability services are available through the Office of Disability Services.

Students are also encouraged to visit OCC’s Career Services office for further assistance with resumes, cover letters, interview preparations, and internship/employment opportunities!

Welcome to OCC’s Helping Hands page! At Helping Hands we provide a multitude of non-academic support services to Ocean County College and Kean Ocean students to help them succeed. These support services are snacks, drinks, meals, resources for financial assistance, referrals for housing support and so much more. Here we hope to showcase special events, Helping Hands information and other news addressing students’ basic needs. If you, or a student you know, needs assistance with basic needs, please come see us, we are here to help!

Contact us at: or call us at 732-255-0348. You can also visit us on Facebook:

Tuition Assistance for Military Affiliated Veterans and dependents: Eligible branch service members, their spouse or children will be permitted to enroll in classes utilizing their branch of service educational funds.

Refund Guidelines – Drop/Withdraw: If a Military Affiliated student drops or withdraws from a class, he/she may not be eligible to receive full funding from tuition assistance. Military Affiliated students will follow the refund schedule outlined in Policy# 5144.

Drop/Withdrawal Date Refund Amount
Prior to first day of class 100%
Up to and including Census Date 50%
After Census Date 0%
60% completion 0%

NJ Deployment and Mobilization Policy Information – Ocean County Community College is committed to supporting our students who are called to active duty service. If you are activated, please e-mail your orders to the School Certifying Official, Veteran Coordinator, and Veteran Advisor to assist in your transition from OCC to active duty.

If you require additional assistance, the Veteran and Military Resource Center is available and can be reached via email at

  1. a. Pursuant to N.J.S.A. 18A:62-4.2, a student at OCC who is unable to complete a course because the student is called to partial or full mobilization for State or federal active duty as a member of the National Guard or a Reserve component of the Armed Forces of the United States shall be entitled to the options set forth in this policy with respect to the student’s grade for the course and the availability of refunds.
    b. A student who has completed at least eight weeks of attendance in a course may choose to:
    1. Receive a letter grade; or
    2. Receive a grade of pass or fail; or
    3. Receive a grade of incomplete; or
    4. Withdraw from the course.

c. A student who has completed less than eight weeks of attendance in a course may choose to:

    1. Receive a grade of incomplete; or
    2. Withdraw from the course.

d. A letter grade or a grade of pass shall only be awarded if, in the opinion of the faculty member teaching the course, the student has
completed sufficient work, and there is sufficient evidence of progress toward meeting the requirements of the course, to justify the grade.
e. A grade of incomplete shall remain valid for a period of one year after the student returns to OCC.
f. A student who chooses to accept a grade of pass or fail may, within one year after returning to OCC, receive a letter grade for the course by
completing the work required for the course, in which case the letter grade shall replace the pass or fail grade as the student’s grade for the
g. A student who chooses to withdraw from a course shall receive a full refund of tuition and fees attributable to that course.
h. Any refund payable to a student who is a financial aid recipient shall be subject to the applicable State and federal regulations regarding

Isakson and Roe Veterans Health Care and Benefits Improvement Act of 2020 – Signed into law on January 5, 2021, the Johnny Isakson and David P. Roe, M.D. Veterans Health Care and Benefits Improvement Act of 2020 (P.L.116-315) provides for the improvement and/or expansion of various GI Bill programs. This includes Provision 1005, Requirements for In-State Tuition:

  • Effective August 1, 2021, provision 1005 removes the requirement for covered individuals to enroll in a course at a public institution of higher learning within three years of being discharged to receive in-state tuition. VA will also make publicly available on the VA website a database explaining any public institution’s requirements for beneficiaries to be charged in-state tuition.

Additional Information regarding OCC’s Veteran and Military Affiliated Students Tuition and Fees, can be reviewed under Policy #5335.

[AT1]Requirements per NJ State Law

Get Started Now

Visit our Express Enrollment Services Page – The HUB!

The HUB is available via phone and email during regular business hours to help you with financial aid, registration, academic advising appointments and much more! Email or call 732-255-0482.

Check mark Call, 732-255-0400 ext. 2371, email or stop by the V.M.R.C in the Larson Student Center (2nd floor) Bldg. #8

Check mark Complete an OCC application for Admission

Check markApply for Veterans benefits

Check mark Order your official military and college transcripts to be sent to OCC’s Registration and Records Office or email to:

Check mark Apply for Financial Aid using Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

Check mark Submit standardized test scores or take the College Placement Test

    • If you have an SAT score in Reading & Writing of 450+ or Math 500+, you will be exempt from that portion of
      the College Placement Test. Bring the scores to the Registration & Records office to be entered.
    • If you do not have qualifying SAT and/or PSAT scores (English > 29 Math > 27.5), arrange to take the College
      Placement Test.
    • If you completed college-level Math and/or English at another college, you must submit an official transcript.

Check mark Call or stop by the Advising & Transfer Services Office

Check mark Follow up with the V.M.R.C.

Any enrollment changes must be approved by the Veterans Certifying Official or the student risks losing their benefits.

G.I. Bill Comparison ToolThis tool lets you learn about education benefits and compare schools. Search “Ocean County College” to discover benefits available to you.

Educational Benefits

Benefits & Eligibility Criteria:

The Montgomery GI Bill ® Selected Reserve (MGIB-SR) (Chapter 1606), is available to members of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard Reserves, as well as the National Guard.

To be eligible for the MGIB-SR you must meet the following criteria:

  • Have a six-year obligation to serve in the Selected Reserve or Guard signed after June 30, 1985. If you are an officer, you must have agreed to serve six years in addition to your original obligation
  • Complete your initial active duty for training (IADT)
  • Meet the requirement to receive a high school diploma or equivalency certificate before completing IADT
  • Remain in good standing while serving in an active Selected Reserve or Guard


  • Step 1: Complete the Application for Education Benefits on the VA’s GOV website.
  • Step 2: Within four to eight weeks you should receive a declaration of eligibility (COE) and a letter explaining your VA GI Bill benefits. Send a copy of the COE to the Office of Financial Aid via fax at: 732.864.3865 or through your Ocean Connect Account.

**Remember that the funds are paid directly to the student, not the school.

Additional Information:

For more information, visit GI Bill ® benefits.

Benefits & Eligibility Criteria:

The Post-9/11 GI Bill ® (Chapter 33) is for individuals with at least 90 days of aggregate service on or after September 11, 2001 or individuals discharged with a service-connected disability after 30 days.

Veterans may also transfer their benefits under Post-9/11 (Chapter 33 Transfer of Benefits (TOB)) to their spouse or dependent.

This program will pay eligible individuals:

  • Tuition & fees directly to the school
  • A monthly housing allowance based on the Basic Allowance for Housing for an E-5 with dependents at the location of the school, and annual books & supplies stipend of $1,000 paid proportionately based on enrollment
  • A one-time rural benefit payment for eligible individuals payable only for training at an Institution of Higher Learning (IHL). If you are in the military, you will not receive the housing allowance or books & supplies stipend
  • This benefit provides up to 36 months of education benefits
  • If your last discharge or release from active duty is on or after January 1, 2013, there is no time limitation to use your benefits. If your last discharge or release from active duty is before January 1, 2013, you have 15 years to use your benefits


  • Step 2: Send a copy of the COE (Certificate of Eligibility) to the Office of Financial Aid via fax at: 732.864.3865 or through your Ocean Connect Account.

Additional Information:

  • Determine your Post 9/11-GI Bill ® entitlement percentage – This is based on the number of months you have served on active duty since Sept. 11, 2001.
  • Determine the maximum amount the VA will pay based on the in-state tuition rate for your school’s state.
  • Ask your school about their per credit hour tuition and per term fees:

Multiply the maximum in-state tuition & fees by your Post-9/11 entitlement percentage and compare this to your school’s tuition and fees. If your entitlement is equal to or more than the schools tuition and fees then you are covered. There is no refund of the difference.

Scholarship Information:

Marine Gunnery Sergeant John David Fry Scholarship

Benefits & Eligibility Criteria:

Survivors & Dependents Educational Assistance (DEA) (Chapter 35) is available to the child or spouse of a veteran:

  • Who died or is permanently disabled as the result of a service-connected disability
  • Who is missing in action or captured by hostile forces
  • Who is forcibly detained or interned in line of duty by a foreign government or power


  • Step 2: Send a copy of the COE (Certificate of Eligibility) to the Office of Financial Aid via fax at: 732.864.3865 or through your Ocean Connect Account.

The COE must include the service member’s file number (this means providing the SSN of the service member from whom you derived the right to this benefit).

**Remember that the funds are paid directly to the student, not the school. Therefore, you will be responsible for your bill by the due date established by the Bursar’s office.

Typically, you would not receive your benefits until after classes have begun, which is after the bill is due. We encourage you to file a FAFSA to help meet the financial obligation until you receive and apply your benefits.

Benefits & Eligibility Criteria:

Veteran Readiness and Employment (Chapter 31) is available if you served in the Armed Forces during WWII or thereafter and:

  • Suffered a service-connected disability in active service which entitles you to compensation which you have declined in lieu of retirement pay
  • Were discharged or released under dishonorable conditions
  • The VA determines a need for vocational rehabilitation


  • Step 2: Schedule a meeting with your assigned Veteran Readiness and Employment counselor to determine benefit eligibility: O.C.C. Chp 31 Counselor assigned;

VR&E Counselor: Shawyna Gartell. Email:

C/o Ocean County Veterans Bureau
1027 Hooper Avenue – 1st Floor – Bldg 2
PO Box 2191
Toms River, NJ 08754
Tel#: 732-349-6106
: 732-506-5181

  • If you are approved for benefits, your counselor will send notification to the school of your eligibility. After the school completes your certification, you will be able to purchase your books in the book store through the voc rehab program. You can also apply to your counselor for a computer, printer, etc.

**Remember that the funds are paid directly to the school, not the student.

two women sitting in the veterans resource lounge

V.M.R.C. student lounge

Veterans’ Voices

Ocean County College is creating a platform for local, and community organizations that provide advocacy for New Jersey Veterans. OCC continues to develop as a pillar of Veteran resources for Ocean County, and New Jersey collectively. This program will showcase organizations, programs, and advocates that support combat, Veteran isolation, mental health resources, and benefits literacy not only on and off campus, but also regionally. For more information, contact the Assistant Director of Veteran and Military Services, Ryan Luurtsema at

Veteran Voices will air on OceanTV20 and Comcast Channel 24:

  • Wednesdays: 11 a.m. and 8 p.m.
  • Thursdays: 12 a.m.
  • Sundays: 7 p.m.

Awards & Distinctions

Military Friendly 2019-2020 School logo
The Military Friendly® School designation recognizes a college’s commitment, effort, and success in creating sustainable and meaningful benefits for the military community.

Best for Vets Colleges 2020 Military Times
The Military Times’ Best for Vets: Colleges 2020 designation is based on policies related to military and veteran students, academic outcomes, military-supportive cultures, costs, and financial aid.

Frequently Asked Questions

Guaranteed one-on-one advisement while attending and after graduating from OCC as a Veteran and Military Service Member.

The following dedicated members of our staff are available to assist you.

No GPA requirement (certain programs have specific academic requirements).

Yes, the Military and Veterans Lounge gives you full access to a studying area and breakout room.

All military and veteran affiliated students are welcome to use the services and resources at the center, including spouses and dependents.

The V.M.R.C can refer you to a dedicated financial aid officer in the Student Enrollment Center, located in Building #9.

Yes, you can join the Student Veterans Organization and our chapter of the Student Veterans of America Foundation.

OCC also offers a variety of other clubs and organizations you may want to join. Visit the Student Life page to learn more!

Yes, we offer a chapter of the S.A.L.U.T.E. Honor Society for Military and Veteran students.

To inquire about VA Educational Benefits, go to

    • Quick steps: scroll to “Get GI Bill and other Education Benefits”
    • Click “How to Apply”
    • Scroll down to: “How Do I Apply” (Green Button) follow the steps

Point of Contact for VA Ed. Benefits: tel:+1-888-442-4551

Any Chapter 31 Recipient or Veteran Readiness and Employment (VR&E) need to work directly with their VA counselor: Shawyna Gartell.


Information regarding benefits and eligibility criteria can be found under Educational Benefits listed above.

The chapter recipient is responsible to retrieve their Certification of Eligibility letter from the VA and/or VA Education Counselors. This information must be submitted to Karen Wilson-Wylie in Financial Aid, to have their benefits Certified and receive their benefits compensation.

All program initiatives and events, on or off campus, resources in non-profits, scholarships and engagements, please contact the VMRC Assistant Director, Ryan Luurtsema ( or email the Veterans Departament directly at: (

Contact Us

Telephone: 732.255.0400, Ext. 2080
Monday – Friday
8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Student Center (Bldg 8) Room 221

Military Affiliated Support Team

Ryan Luurtsema, Assistant Director
Veteran and Military Resource Center
Schedule an Appointment

Kencis Kleinschmidt, Coordinator
Veteran and Military Resource Center (DoE)

Julianna Dressner, Administrative Asst. I
Veteran and Military Resource Center

Deeanne Gatta-Salter
Military and Veteran Liaison to Academic Advising
Schedule an Appointment

Karen Wilson-Wylie
Sr. Financial Aid Advisor
Military and Veteran Certifying Official
732.255.0400 Ext: 2330
Schedule an Appointment

Cost to Attend OCC

Students can estimate their individual cost of attending OCC using our Net Price Calculator tool.

Answer a few simple questions and receive an estimate instantly!

Meet Frank Suter Jr!
Frank Suter Jr.

Frank is Veteran of the Vietnam War, serving in the Navy from 1969 to 1973.

Pursuing an A/S in Computer Science, Frank chose OCC because “OCC is a veteran oriented school that provides many opportunities to its students.”

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