TEMPE, AZ — It's been 10 years since the Pat Tillman Veterans Center opened its doors at Arizona State University. The center helps veterans transition from the military to college life.
Beno Thomas received assistance from the center and recently graduated with a journalism degree from ASU.
Thomas served eight years in the Marine Corps and did four combat tours, two in Iraq and two in Afghanistan. He says it was difficult to adjust once he came back to Arizona.
"When you get out, you're kind of thrown into the wilderness and there are small transition courses and things like that but nowhere near what's necessary to get military service members prepared for what I call the real world," Thomas said. "So without that kind of leadership I was used to I floundered and I think like a lot of people I became a statistic when I got out. But again, once I found that purpose again, once I found my community here at ASU and the Pat Tillman Veterans Center and got to sit with other people who had also struggled just like me that went a long way towards building my confidence and giving me that sense of purpose again."
Eligible veterans get their tuition paid for through the 9/11 GI Bill. Despite that, veterans make up only 3-4% of college students in the United States, according to Student Veterans of America.
University officials say since the center opened 10 years ago, the number of veterans enrolled at ASU has quadrupled.
For more information about the center, click here.