Manhattan College’s Veteran Program Expands

For nearly a century, Manhattan College has invested in the education of veterans, spanning from World War I to the Iraqi and Afghanistan wars

For nearly a century, Manhattan College has invested in the education of veterans, spanning from World War I to the Iraqi and Afghanistan wars. Most recently, the College is helping to support the education of 45 veterans as a partner in the Post-9/11 GI Bill Yellow Ribbon program. Since the bill was passed, Manhattan has doubled the number of enrolled veterans.

An ever-growing number of young men and women in the United States joined the military to fight for their country in the aftermath of Sept. 11, 2001, and to help others around the world receive the same freedoms that U.S. citizens have. According to the 2010 U.S. Census’ American Community Survey, nearly 1,408,612 veterans in the United States are between the ages of 18 and 34. But thanks to the Post-9/11 GI Bill, most veterans now will have a better chance of receiving education benefits that in most cases pay for 100 percent of their college degrees.

“Manhattan College is proud to welcome our veteran students to campus and honor these men and women for their service,” says Brennan O’Donnell, Ph.D., president of the College. “They not only bring skills, experience and values to add to our community but also contribute to the Lasallian education of placing service at the core.”

The Post-9/11 GI Bill was passed on Aug. 1, 2009, and allows veterans who served in active duty on or after Sept. 11 to receive educational benefits from a college or university approved for GI Bill benefits, such as Manhattan College, and pays up to $17,500 of the highest public in-state undergraduate tuition. In addition to veterans, the bill allows active duty service members to transfer education benefits to a dependant or spouse.

President Obama made an amendment to the Post-9/11 GI Bill on Aug. 3, 2011, when the Restoring GI Bill Fairness Act of 2011 was signed into law. The act sanctions the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to pay more than $17,500 in tuition and fees in seven states, including Arizona, Michigan, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Texas. In order to qualify, students must have been enrolled at the same college or university since Jan. 4. 2011, and be enrolled in a program for which the tuition and fees for full-time attendance during the 2010-2011 academic year exceeds $17,500.

As a partner in the Post-9/11 GI Bill Yellow Ribbon program, Manhattan College veteran students are now eligible (based on length of service) for tuition and fees paid by the VA up to $17,500 with Manhattan College matching up to $15,000 under the Yellow Ribbon program for the fall and spring semesters during the academic year. Veteran students will also receive a housing allowance (based on enrollment and eligibility tier). The Post-9/11 GI Bill provides up to 36 months of education benefits, and benefits are generally payable for up to 15 years following release from active duty.

“We at Manhattan College are very proud of the increasing number of veterans who are pursuing their education as part of the Post-9/11 GI Bill Yellow Ribbon program,” says Richard Satterlee, Ph.D., vice president for student life. “In my experience, these men and women are often some of our most serious students and recognize in a unique way what a true privilege it is to be on a college campus.”

From the first day that veteran students express an interest in attending Manhattan College, the College strives to make the process as smooth as possible with assistance in admission, financial aid and residence life. Students work directly with Agnes Flynn, the College’s certifying officer for the veterans, who administers all of the paperwork for admission and registration, as well as answers questions. In addition, student financial services meets with veteran students, when they start, to explain the reimbursement process.

The College’s student development and residence life team are also dedicated to helping students become acclimated to campus life and the overall transition process. In fact, Sonny Ago, Ed.D., assistant vice president for student life, was also recently hired to help enhance and develop programming for veterans at the College.

“Whether a veteran student chooses to live on or off campus, student development is available to assist and support students with any questions,” says Michael Carey, Psy.D., dean of students. “From the start of the semester, we encourage students to join clubs and activities and immerse themselves in campus life.” Carey also added that as a way to welcome veteran students, student development would host a dinner on Nov. 15.

As an active supporter of the tremendous benefits available from the Post-9/11 GI Bill Yellow Ribbon program, the College’s admissions office is available Monday-Friday by appointment to answer questions and also hosts regular Saturday information sessions (including Nov. 12 and 19, and Dec. 3 and 10).  To learn more, visit http://manhattan.edu/admissions/visits.shtml.

“We at Manhattan College are grateful for our veterans’ gift of service, and we are happy to do our part to help these students to make the transition to the next stage of their lives,” O’Donnell says.