As we celebrated Memorial Day last weekend, many of us were reminded of the costs that members of the armed forces have paid, and continue to pay, to protect our freedoms.
The sacrifices made by men and women of all branches of the military warrant a level of respect that shouldn’t be overlooked.
NMU’s new Veterans Scholarship, which guarantees in-state tuition for U.S. service members who have received an honorable discharge, is a necessary step towards making sure that veterans get the benefits they deserve.
According to an NMU news release, the scholarship “covers any tuition costs beyond NMU’s in-state rate that are not addressed by veteran’s benefits and NMU’s participation in the federal Yellow Ribbon Program.”
While in-state tuition is already provided for active duty members and their dependents, the new scholarship assists eligible veterans who wish to begin or continue a college education.
More than 300,000 troops complete their military service each year and the transition back to civilian life can be difficult, according to the nonprofit organization Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA).
The road to finding a place to live, a job and an education can prove to be exceedingly stressful for veterans.
The Journal of Student Affairs Research and Practice points out that veterans may struggle with applying academic skills after an extended absence from the classroom, family responsibilities, alienation from younger classmates, and possible brain injuries, as well as post-traumatic stress.
Fortunately, steps have been made by the federal government to smooth out the transition, especially for those who served after 9/11 and are seeking an education.
The Post-9/11 GI-Bill was made effective in August 2009 to provide financial support for education and housing to individuals with at least 90 days of aggregate service after September 10, 2001.
The Post-9/11 GI-Bill pays for 36 months of tuition equal to the cost of the most expensive public university in the state, a housing allowance and a book stipend.
According to the Center for American Progress, a public policy think tank in Washington, D.C., more than 500,000 veterans, their dependents, and active duty personnel are enrolled in post-secondary courses.
NMU’s participation in programs to assist veterans has contributed to three consecutive appearances on “G.I. Jobs” annual list of military-friendly schools, a designation that honors the top 20 percent of colleges, universities and trade schools that strive to help individuals that have served in the armed forces.
In the NMU news release, senior deputy director for the State of Michigan’s Department of Military and Veterans Affairs Jason Allen said, “NMU has already gained national recognition for its efforts to accommodate veterans as they transition from military service to higher education.” The new Veterans Scholarship is an extra step to assist those who have certainly earned a helping hand.
By assisting those who have college costs exceeding their federal benefits, NMU is making strides to be a more accessible university for ex-service members.
It is of the utmost importance that more universities become G.I. friendly. Service members and veterans need, and deserve, an accessible education
The efforts made by Northern to help veterans pay for their education is something to be proud of, and it is a privilege to share the classroom with the disciplined, hard-working veterans of our country.