University to welcome veterans home with semester of free tuition

June 20 2008

When thousands of Hoosier servicemen and women now stationed in overseas return home next year, Indiana State University will offer a unique welcome back for those wanting to begin or continue a college education.

ISU trustees on Friday (June 20) approved a waiver of full-time tuition for eligible veterans' first semester at ISU.

"Indiana ranks fifth in the nation in the deployment of reservists and National Guard who are serving their country overseas. Many have had to postpone or interrupt their college education. We want to recognize the sacrifices these individuals have made for our state and nation and help ease their transition back," said John Beacon, vice president for enrollment management, marketing and communications.

The waiver - for the fall semester of 2009 - will apply to Indiana reservists and National Guard members that have been deployed overseas this year, are eligible for the GI Bill and enroll full-time at ISU for the full 2009-10 school year.

More than 3,400 Indiana National Guard soldiers with the 76th Infantry Brigade Combat team represent the largest contingent of personnel who are potentially eligible for the waiver. However, the semester of free tuition will not be limited to Army personnel, Beacon stressed. Those who served overseas this past year in any branch of the military reserves or Guard will be eligible.

"While facing the everyday costs of being college students, veterans typically must wait 90 to 120 days for processing of their GI Bill paperwork before they will receive their first check disbursements," Beacon said. "With such a large influx of returning active duty personnel all at once, it is anticipated there will be longer delays in processing benefits. This waiver will help our service personnel and their families get back on their feet."

Approval of the waiver drew praise from the vice-commander of an Indiana Air National Guard unit based at Terre Haute International Airport-Hulman Field.

"Indiana State University is taking a giant step toward meeting a valid need among returning Indiana veterans. Often a specific need is acknowledged but then nothing happens. In this case Indiana State has addressed the issue and come up with a great way to solve it," said Col. Christopher H. Colbert of the 181st Intelligence Wing.

"This action will be highly appreciated by returning Indiana National Guardsmen. Indiana State's recognition of the personal sacrifices made by guardsmen and women will be humbly and warmly received," Colbert told ISU trustees.

The dollar value of the tuition waiver is expected to be around $3500 per student, although a precise amount has not been determined because state universities will not set tuition for 2009-10 until the spring of 2009.

Contact: John Beacon, vice president for enrollment managing, marketing and communications, 812-237-3560 or jbeacon@isugw.indstate.edu  

Writer: Dave Taylor, media relations director, Office of Communications and Marketing, 812-237-3743 or dave.taylor@indstate.edu  

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Story Highlights

Indiana State University will offer a unique welcome back for servicemen and women returning from overseas deployment. ISU trustees have approved a waiver of full-time tuition for eligible veterans' first semester at ISU.

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