Scholarships for veterans

May 8, 2009 2:57:19 PM PDT
Getting a college education is expensive. But a new program is helping out some of the men and women who have served overseas in the military.U.S. Army veteran Grant Holtan was a weapon specialist in Iraq. He's come a long way to be a student at Columbia University, as after his tour of duty, his future seemed uncertain, at best.

"That's the most dangerous thing, is just not knowing what's around the corner and just trying to be prepared for it all the time," said Grant Holtan.

Now, Grant's college career is in his hands. Some 100 Columbia students, who are also military veterans, can have their Ivy League education paid for, through a scholarship fund called the Yellow Ribbon Program.

"These are people who've served our country. They have really sacrificed a lot and they now have an opportunity to go back to school, and we want to give them the best opportunity that's available," said Laurie Schaffler, Financial Services Director for Columbia.

After a basic tuition benefit from the Veterans Services Administration, Columbia will give half of the remaining expenses for the academic year. The government will then match those funds.

"In addition, the Department of Veterans Affairs is giving really great stipends for living and books and supplies, so they're really be able to go to a private institution at a very, very low, low cost," said Laurie Schaffler.

Without the benefits, Marine Corps veteran, Joel Ramirez, would not be able to plan on full time classes at Columbia.

"It would be cost prohibitive. There would be no way to, even with the old G.I. Bill, there's just no way to do it. But with the Yellow Ribbon Program, it's perfect," said Joel Ramirez.

The Yellow Ribbon scholarships will be offered at colleges and universities across the nation, and those funds will be available to veterans as of august 1st of this year. Web produced by Maura Sweeney


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