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Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Announces Commitment To Support Veterans' Education

Tue, 2009-08-04 16:46 -- Anonymous

August 4, 2009

Institute among more than 500 colleges, universities, and public institutions participating in new Post 9/11 GI Bill

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute has joined a national effort to make new resources available to military veterans and their dependents to attend college. Last June, Congress passed the Post 9/11 GI Bill designed to help participants pay for private colleges, state public institutions, and graduate programs. At Rensselaer, qualified applicants will be able attend the university at little or no cost.

Under  the new GI Bill, service members who have served three years on active duty since September 11, 2001, can receive benefits to cover the costs of a four-year education up to the level of the most expensive in-state public institution, along with a stipend for housing, books, and expenses. Also, to help cover any remaining tuition or fee charges, under the Yellow Ribbon Program, a provision of the new GI Bill, qualified applicants will be able to receive an additional designated scholarship from participating colleges and universities that will be matched by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Other qualified applicants for the program may include: officers who were honorably discharged from active duty for a service-connected disability who have also served 30 continuous days after September 10, 2001, and veterans’ dependents. According to the Department of Defense, career service members on active duty or in the selected reserve may be entitled to transfer all or a portion of their education entitlement to one or more family members. To be eligible, service members must have served in the Armed Forces for at least six years, and agree to serve four additional years, from the date of election of transfer.

Rensselaer plans to offer annual scholarships up to $15,000 to qualified admitted individuals, and the match from the Department of Veterans Affairs will add an additional $15,000, if applicable. With the combined total benefit, admitted veterans and eligible dependents under this program will have their tuition and fees fully covered while attending Rensselaer. They also will be eligible to receive additional benefits from the government to offset housing, meals, and other expenses. The Institute plans to sponsor up to 20 students annually for this program.

Under the old GI Bill, veterans’ education benefits covered only about 60 percent of the cost of a public school education. Officials at the Department of Veterans Affairs say that the new bill will provide service members, veterans, and dependents with an opportunity to revitalize the American dream through their engagement in higher education. 

“Serving our country in the war in Iraq or Afghanistan is an act of unselfish giving that exemplifies loyalty, patriotism, and honor,” said Rensselaer President Shirley Ann Jackson. “Rensselaer is committed to providing outstanding educational opportunities for veterans and their dependents. As a university with a strong history of collaboration with, and support of, the U.S. military, the Institute recognizes the sacrifice that veterans and their family members make. We are very happy to invest in their future success and encourage them to join the long and distinguished list of leaders who have graduated from the Institute.”

“After everything our veterans have done for us, it is imperative that we provide them with access to quality, affordable education,” said U.S. Senator Charles Schumer.  “The new GI Bill, which I co-sponsored, will enable our brave men and women to realize their dreams by presenting them with opportunities to pursue higher education at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and other top-notch universities through the Yellow Ribbon Program.”

“Our veterans and their families have sacrificed everything for our freedoms, and they deserve every opportunity for a bright future,” U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand said. “I worked hard to ensure those opportunities in the new G.I. Bill as a Congresswoman, and I am so pleased to see RPI is joining our effort to stand up for our veterans, and arm them with the opportunity to get a first-class education.” 

“I applaud Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s participation in the Yellow Ribbon Program, which will dramatically increase the educational opportunities available to our veterans,” said U.S. Representative Paul Tonko. “As our soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines make a commitment to defend the United States and protect each and every one of us, we must make a similar commitment to do right by them. I am very appreciative that in these very difficult times, RPI is standing up for our veterans.” 

Highlights of theYellow Ribbon Program at Rensselaer
Rensselaer plans to continue its long commitment to support the armed services, dating back to the Civil War, by fully participating in the new “Yellow Ribbon” program of the GI Bill. The Institute will waive application fees and expedite the application process for veterans, and provide them with notification of their financial aid awards at the same time as they receive their admissions decisions. 

In addition, the Division of Enrollment has assigned a member of the admissions team to address the opportunities for veterans for both graduate and undergraduate study.  Raymond A. Lutzky ’02, director of outreach and associate director of enrollment, will facilitate veteran student recruitment, provide on-campus interviews specifically for veterans, coordinate all veteran outreach, and serve as a liaison between veteran applicants and Rensselaer’s departments. 

“There is no better investment than education, and at times many returning veterans face burdensome challenges when returning home and attempting to enroll in college,” said Lutzky. “The Yellow Ribbon program helps to make the application process easier so that veterans and their dependents can succeed in pursuing higher education. A college education is part of pursuing the American Dream in the 21st century, so we are thrilled to be able to make this a reality for New York veterans and their dependents who choose to attend Rensselaer. This is a fitting way to thank them for their service and sacrifices made along the way.”

Additionally, as veterans self-identify on their undergraduate application, Rensselaer will permit unofficial documents to be used to begin the admissions process.  These can include transcripts, test scores, and government documents; however, official documents must be sent to Rensselaer prior to a veteran’s enrollment as a student. 

To further assist qualified applicants, Mike Bayer, customer service manager in the Office of the Registrar, will serve as the Institute’s school certifying official, and will focus on verifying certification, interacting with applicants, and monitoring eligibility.

In addition to participating in the Post 9/11 GI Bill, Rensselaer students have received various VA benefits available to them including the Montgomery GI Bill, the Survivors and Dependents Educational Assistance Program, the Reserve Educational Assistance program, and the Vocational Rehabilitation program. 

For more information, visit: http://www.gibill.va.gov/School_Info/yellow_ribbon/index.htm.

Contact: Michael Mullaney
Phone: (518) 276-6161
E-mail: mullam@rpi.edu