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Augustana Joins Program to Help Veterans Attend College

SIOUX FALLS –Augustana College once again is reaching out to military veterans looking to advance their education.

Brenda Murtha, Director of Financial Aid, said the College has joined the Yellow Ribbon Program, a federal effort to help military veterans attend college.

The Yellow Ribbon GI Education Enhancement Program is a provision of the Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2008. This program allows institutions of higher learning (degree granting institutions) in the United States to voluntarily enter into an agreement with VA to fund tuition expenses that exceed the highest public in-state undergraduate tuition rate. The institution can contribute up to 50 percent of those expenses and VA will match the same amount as the institution.

Augustana has agreed to admit 15 students under the Yellow Ribbon Program and will contribute $9,000 per student/per year. Admitted students will have access to all programs and courses.

Enrollment at Augustana rose dramatically following World War II. The following statement appeared in the 1946 yearbook (The EDDA).

“From Europe, from Alaska, from the Pacific and from camps in the United States they come. From the Air Corps, and the infantry, from the Navy and Marines, from the Waves, the Wacs and the Nurse Corps, the reconverted GIs seeking an education for living are flocking back to school. Augustana has opened its doors to them. They gather in the lounge, or in the Huddle or in the Vets Association meetings. Their age plus their experience give them a maturity new to the campus, and it has reflected from them onto the entire student body. They have become an integral part of Augustana and the effect of their presence will be felt long after they have graduated.”

“I am excited that we chose to participate in this program,” Murtha said. “It makes an Augustana education very affordable for any qualified veteran. We are seeking veterans who are highly motivated academically as they will both benefit from, and contribute to, the academic setting here at Augustana. We are intentionally limiting the number, at least for now, as we want to ensure that our support services for these students remains strong. We are eager to reach out to veterans and invite them to be a part of the Augustana experience.”

In its original form, the bill provided full government-paid tuition only to veterans attending public universities. The Yellow Ribbon Program was added to the bill to accommodate veterans at private institutions.

Only individuals entitled to the maximum benefit rate (based on service requirements) may receive this funding. Payments for Post-9/11 GI Bill will not be processed until August 1, 2009.