WSU to support veterans on campus with Yellow Ribbon Program
Eligible military members, veterans and dependents using Post-9/11 G.I. Bill benefits who are not Kansas residents will now be able to save up to $8,000 per year attending Wichita State University.
WSU has joined the Yellow Ribbon Program, an initiative of the Department of Veteran Affairs through which WSU and the VA share the cost of the difference between in-state and out-of-state tuition. This will make it more affordable for a larger number of out-of-state students with military backgrounds to attend WSU.
“WSU has a continuing commitment to serving and assisting our nation's veterans,” said Wichita State President John Bardo. “We understand what they have given to our country, and we are pleased to be able to recognize them by providing a supportive environment in which they can complete their education.”
Cody Herrin, president of the Wichita State chapter of the national Student Veterans Organization said: “Participating in Yellow Ribbon is a great recruiting tool for WSU and will allow us to compete for veteran students with all other major institutions in the region. Additionally, this will relieve the financial burden on students who wish to return to Kansas to achieve their education.”
This new initiative comes on the heels of other recent changes at Wichita State that are designed to make the campus more attractive to students with military backgrounds. Already noted as a Top Military-Friendly College/University by Military Advanced Education Magazine, WSU opened a Military and Veteran Student Center on Veterans Day 2013.
The new center has had very high traffic volumes since opening and receives rave reviews from student veterans as a place to gather with other veterans, to find friendships, share concerns and help each other with academic work.
Sarah Sell, student success specialist in the Office for Faculty Development and Student Success, runs the Military and Veteran Student Center as part of her work promoting persistence and graduation among undergraduates. Sell, a First Sergeant who has served in the Air National Guard for 12 years, including deployments supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom, was named the Kansas Senior Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year for 2013.
“Due to the drawdowns in our military, we are seeing more students on campus who are veterans and who need support for their specific needs,” said Sell. “Participating in Yellow Ribbon is just one more way that Wichita State can help to support our veterans and to eliminate obstacles that could prevent students with military backgrounds from graduating.”
Bill Vanderburgh, executive director of the Office for Faculty Development and Student Success said: “Student veterans often have a difficult time adjusting to the college environment, where their advanced training, experiences and age can make them feel out of step with traditional college students and the college environment in general.
In addition, many suffer physical and psychological issues, such as injuries sustained during service and PTSD that make going to school that much harder. The Military and Veteran Student Center and WSU’s participation in the Yellow Ribbon Program are examples of the kinds of services more and more colleges around the country are providing to help these students stay in school and graduate.”
Starting in fall 2014, experienced veteran students from the Military and Veteran Student Center will offer mentoring to fellow military/veteran students who are new to campus, to help them make connections and adjust to life at college.