Serving student veterans

June 15, 2012 

Northeastern flag and American flag

Northeastern has reaffirmed its commitment to educating student veterans by increasing the number of service men and women who can enroll through the Yellow Ribbon Program. Photo by Mary Knox Merrill.

North­eastern Uni­ver­sity has reaf­firmed its com­mit­ment to edu­cating stu­dent vet­erans by increasing the number of ser­vice men and women who can enroll through the fed­eral government's Yellow Ribbon Pro­gram.

A change in the program's funding struc­ture will enable North­eastern to enroll up to 252 stu­dent vet­erans begin­ning this fall. The pro­gram, which oper­ates in con­junc­tion with the Depart­ment of Vet­erans Affairs, cur­rently pro­vides free tuition to roughly 120 vet­erans who have served in the post-​​9/​11 era.

In 2009, North­eastern pledged $2 mil­lion to help vet­erans earn a col­lege edu­ca­tion through the pro­gram, which offers stu­dents access to a full range of degree pro­grams, including bachelor's, master's, doc­toral and law degrees.

Stu­dent vet­erans praised Northeastern's exe­cu­tion of the program.

"North­eastern is the best bet for vet­erans in the Boston area," said Michael Trudeau, who served in the Navy from 2004 to 2009 on the USS Columbus sub­ma­rine. "I would have been in debt if I had gone to any other Yellow Ribbon school, but I don't have any debt at Northeastern."

Trudeau, the pres­i­dent of Northeastern's chapter of Stu­dent Vet­erans of America, learned of the program's plan to increase enroll­ment at a meeting of stu­dent vet­erans and mem­bers of the university's admin­is­tra­tion and then tweeted the good news.

The senior polit­ical sci­ence major said stu­dent vet­erans bring a unique world­view to the campus com­mu­nity. "Vet­erans bring matu­rity, insight and a global per­spec­tive that most stu­dents cannot," he explained.

Andrew McCarty, BS '12, an Air Force vet­eran and a staff adviser for the Stu­dent Vet­erans Orga­ni­za­tion, agreed with Trudeau's assess­ment, noting that ser­vice men and women have invalu­able expe­ri­ence that tra­di­tional stu­dents who attend col­lege directly after high school may not.

"Stu­dent vet­erans have trav­eled the world and been respon­sible for large bud­gets for tech­nology that costs mil­lions of dol­lars," he said. "They have been placed in posi­tions of great respon­si­bility and have excelled in response to the rig­orous demands of their mil­i­tary experience."

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