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SU to offer Yellow Ribbon Program benefits to post-9/11 veterans and their dependents
Jaime Winne Alvarez
Building on its historic role of educating post-World War II veterans under the Montgomery GI Bill, Syracuse University will offer higher education benefits to post- 9/11 servicemen and women and their dependents beginning in the 2009-10 academic year through the Yellow Ribbon Education Enhancement Program. The new program is a provision of the Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2008, also known as the New GI Bill.
The University, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), will cover tuition costs that exceed those paid by the VA for post-9/11 vets eligible for the program. In order to participate, veterans must be in the 100 percent eligibility tier as defined by the legislation (i.e., having served an aggregate period of active duty after Sept. 10, 2001, of at least 36 months).
Beginning this fall, those who qualify for Yellow Ribbon benefits may choose from graduate and full- and part-time undergraduate programs in any of SU’s schools and colleges. During the initial year of the program, the University is prepared to assist as many as 132 qualifying veterans or their dependents.
Applications for full-time undergraduate and graduate study for fall 2009 will be accepted on a space-available basis. Applications for part-time undergraduate study are being accepted now. Awards can be renewed annually.
Under the original GI Bill, effective from 1944-56, 7.8 million WW II veterans participated in education or training programs. Despite its relatively modest size at the time, SU became a national leader in providing education for veterans building new lives in the aftermath of WW II. It was the University’s first large-scale commitment to educating veterans.
“Syracuse University is committed to doing whatever it takes to swing open the doors of opportunity for our veterans. We’ve done it before, as a leader in implementing the first G.I. Bill following WW II,” says Chancellor and President Nancy Cantor. “In accordance with our vision of Scholarship in Action, which defines the University as public good and models ways to address pressing national problems on a local scale, we will do it again. Through programs like Yellow Ribbon, we will support 21st century GIs by providing the educational benefits, access and assistance needed to repay the debt of gratitude that our community and nation owes them.”
Passed by Congress last year, the New GI Bill provides significant expansion of the educational aid available to post-9/11 vets. It is considered the most extensive educational assistance program authorized since the original GI Bill in 1944. The new bill provides tuition assistance, a housing allowance, a stipend for books and supplies, and the option to transfer benefits to family members under certain circumstances.
“Syracuse University’s participation in the Yellow Ribbon Program demonstrates our longstanding commitment to supporting our nation’s veterans,” says Vice Chancellor and Provost Eric F. Spina. “The entire institution is embracing the program in order to provide contemporary veterans with an undergraduate or graduate education that might otherwise have been cost prohibitive.”
In order to better assist student-veterans, SU has established a new veterans’ services resource center. Housed within UC’s Student Administrative Services Office, the office will provide a personalized, student-centered set of services from recruitment to degree completion.
“Taking a leadership role in serving the educational needs of our servicemen and women is not new to Syracuse University,” says Bethaida (Bea) González, dean of University College and institutional lead for the Yellow Ribbon Program. “While we may be uniquely qualified to educate returning veterans based on our track record, we understand that meeting the needs of 21st century GIs requires services beyond what institutions typically provide.”
For information on the New GI Bill and the Yellow Ribbon Program, visit the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website at http://www.gibill.va.gov.