Last modified: Monday, June 15, 2009
IU welcomes vets studying under Post-9/11 GI Bill and Yellow Ribbon Program
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 15, 2009
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- This fall, Indiana University will welcome its first group of "Yellow Ribbon Program" veterans. The Veterans Administration's Yellow Ribbon Program -- a new, Post-9/11 GI Bill -- is designed to cover the costs of an in-state undergraduate education for military veterans and also offers additional support for military veterans enrolled in graduate programs or from outside the state.
IU Bloomington will award up to $2,000 in additional funds that will be matched by the VA for the program -- or a total of $4,000 per person -- for up to 20 new, qualified students annually.
Awards to qualified applicants will be made on a first-come basis and can be renewed each year until they graduate. Applications are requested by July 15, but will be accepted until all awards have been made.
"The Yellow Ribbon Program provides crucial support to a new generation of military veterans as they pursue college educations," said Provost and Executive Vice President Karen Hanson. "Indiana University Bloomington has a long tradition of supporting the men and women of our armed forces and we are proud to participate in this worthwhile program."
"This new program is a great way to get student veterans to attend the top schools without worrying about student loans," said Nicholas Bielinski, president of the Student Veterans Association. "With the funds of the Yellow Ribbon program, we can focus more as veterans to become leaders and be involved on campus.
"Though I served my country for four years, we student veterans have left that part of our lives to pursue new opportunities and are looking for the same college experience as any other student," added Bielinski, a junior from Kouts, Ind.
Margaret Baechtold, director of Veterans Support Services at IU Bloomington, said many of today's veterans entering colleges are older than the typical freshman students. But officers, who usually already have a bachelor's degree, also are eligible under the new GI Bill and may pursue a graduate or professional degree.
"That is one of the areas where I think we'll see an increase, and this would help support any of them," she said of students seeking advanced degrees in business, law and other fields.
The Division of Student Affairs already processes education benefit claims for between 300 and 325 veterans and qualified family members each semester. It's too early to know how many veterans will enroll at IU through the Post-9/11 GI Bill, but the Veterans Administration has projected an additional 20-25 percent increase in those using its education programs nationwide.
Other IU campuses also are participating in the Post-9/11 GI Bill program. Veterans should inquire locally for more information.