When Anthony Meza learned he had not been accepted to Fresno State, the Orosi native assumed his dream of earning a college degree would be significantly delayed. But as an active member of the California Army National Guard, Meza now has a new route to Fresno State thanks to new program funded with a $100,000 gift from the Red and Nancy Arnold Foundation.

The Veterans Education Program will launch its new educational program in the fall to help Valley veterans and current service members transition into higher education. The only program of its kind on the West Coast, the onboard program is designed for first-year student veterans who have been denied admittance to Fresno State and veterans who are eligible for admittance but lack transfer credit.

“I thought it was too good to be true. With this program I can get the admission into Fresno State I’ve always wanted,” Meza said. “Performing at the top of my class is a goal of mine. I want to prove to the University that I can work in its environment.”

The Arnold Foundation gift will help pay for instruction, technology, an iPad and other resources for veterans interested in attending Fresno State. Dr. Daniel Bernard, director of the Veterans Education Program, said the program provides support for veterans transitioning from military life to an academic setting.

“It can be difficult for those in the military to adjust upon returning from active duty,” Bernard said. “They may feel isolated or feel like they don’t fit in to the college lifestyle. This cohort-based program continues the camaraderie found in the military and provides student veterans the complete college experience in an encouraging and welcoming environment.”

Applications are still being accepted to participate in the first cohort. The Veterans Education Program is open to honorably discharged veterans, active duty military members and National Guard members or reservists. The program concentrates on oral and written communication, critical thinking, quantitative reasoning and lifelong learning.

The Arnold family has a long history of supporting veterans. Red Arnold’s brother, Pat, served in the U.S. Air Force.

“The Arnold Foundation was quick to embrace the vision of the Veterans Education Program,” said Dr. Scott Moore, Fresno State’s dean of the Division of Continuing and Global Education. “They are staunch supporters of veteran initiatives and have become a major partner with the University.”

The Veterans Education Program, located in the Lab School on campus, creates a sense of belonging for veterans by providing a lounge, study area, smart classroom and academic skill sets needed for successful careers. These resources are available to current Fresno State student veterans as well as to those who are currently service-connected.

For more information on the Veterans Education Program contact Dr. Bernard at dbernard@csufresno.edu or 559.278.1901.