Chicago joins universities across the state in helping veterans pay for educationBy Julia Morse
After a tour of duty, veterans may qualify to receive reduced tuition at all Illinois universities, U.S. Congressman Rahm Emanuel announced today at a news conference.
Emanuel said Illinois is the first state in the nation in which all universities, public and private, have committed to participating in the federally funded Yellow Ribbon Program.
“The University of Chicago is proud to join Congressman Rahm Emanuel in supporting the educational goals of veterans, and we warmly welcome applicants to our campus,” said Michael Behnke, Vice-President and Dean of College Enrollment. Representatives from the University of Illinois-Chicago, Northwestern University, DePaul University, Loyola University and City Colleges of Chicago, among others, joined Behnke and Emanuel at the news conference.
Passed by congress at the end of July, the Post-9/11 Veterans Education Assistance Act—commonly referred to as the “New GI Bill”—will benefit individuals who served at least three months of active duty since Sept. 11, 2001. The Yellow Ribbon Program will support military service members who have served in Iraq or Afghanistan, helping them cover undergraduate and graduate educational costs at Illinois institutions, ebeginning in August 2009. The length of active duty will determine the amount of money provided and likely will vary among institutions.
Although Chicago administrators are developing a policy for the program, several commitments already have been made. They include waiving College application fees, providing individual counseling during the application process and providing the option of applying as a full-time transfer degree student.
Behnke noted that participating in the Post-9/11 Veterans Education Assistance Act was a natural decision for the University.
“Supporting veterans by providing them with access to a University of Chicago education has always been extremely important to us,” Behnke said, referring to the GI Bill of Rights, which was passed in 1944 and supported the education of 7.8 million veterans during the 1940s and 1950s. During that time, thousands of veterans enrolled at the University of Chicago .
“The ‘New GI Bill,’ and especially the Yellow Ribbon Program, are an extraordinary extension of this long-standing mission of ours. We are excited and proud to participate,” Behnke said.
For more information on the program, visit http://www.gibill.va.gov/s22.htm.