Veterans attending Santa Monica College will retain their current academic counseling hours after a $10,000 donation from the American Legion Post 283, officials with the college said.

The May 16 gift was prompted by the center’s loss of grant funding, which would have reduced the number of specialized counseling hours at the Veterans Resource Center.

Student veterans are required by the Department of Veterans Affairs to make an educational plan outlining individual goals and a transfer school to qualify for their G.I. benefits. While the main counseling department at the college can help with the educational planning, they are not as knowledgeable about the G.I. Bill’s benefits, said Martha Romano, veterans certifying official at SMC.

The college serves about 700 veterans, 400 of whom use their educational benefits to attend school.

Based on the relationship between Post 283 and the SMC student veterans, many of whom have become members of the American Legion, the organization wanted to provide assistance, said Scott Erickson, assistant adjutant at the post.

This relationship has been in place for several years, and is also facilitated by John Scott, director of the Veterans Resource Center and a former Marine.

This is the organization’s second donation to the center.

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