His title is Veterans Services Coordinator, but Ryan Shelton-Benson really acts as a full-service concierge for veterans or active duty military. He works diligently to customize his efforts to the needs of each individual.
“The most asked question I get is how to use the GI Bill,” he said. “The biggest thing is just directing them. They don’t really understand the system or know what the GI Bill covers. My job is to listen to their situation and find out the resources that can help them. I try to make it as user-friendly as possible for them.”
Applying for college alone can be intimidating. Add to that the process of applying for veterans’ benefits and scholarships, and it becomes outright daunting. Shelton-Benson gets it. “It took me nearly a year to understand the system myself,” he said.
Shelton-Benson helps students from start to finish, from filling out their FAFSA form, applying for the GI Bill and finding available scholarships. If a student needs additional services such as mental health counseling, vocational rehabilitation or even food assistance, Shelton-Benson is prepared to make a referral.
“I am their point of contact,” he said. “They can come to one person for everything.”