Colorado State University, partnering with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ Yellow Ribbon GI Education Enhancement Program, is offering full awards – including tuition, fees, and generous housing and books stipends – to U.S. military veterans and their children beginning this fall. Colorado State’s Yellow Ribbon Program, one of the most comprehensive of its kind in the nation, is part of the university’s commitment to being a top national veteran-friendly campus.
Colorado State today announced its participation in the Veterans Affairs’ program. The Yellow Ribbon initiative at CSU is a provision of the Post 9/11 GI Bill, which pays public, in-state tuition for returning veterans or their designated transferees. The benefits of the Yellow Ribbon Program award can be transferred by active duty service members to a dependent, which makes children of active military and veterans eligible.
To maximize this program for veterans and their families, Colorado State is going beyond what the VA offers with additional commitments that in total provide:
• 100 percent of undergraduate resident or non-resident tuition (a savings of about $6,300 for resident undergraduates and $22,000 for non-resident undergraduates);
• 100 percent of university fees (a savings of about $620);
• About $4,300 per semester for a housing allowance;
• $1,000 per year for a book allowance.
“Our community, state and nation owe all those who have served in the military a great deal of gratitude and appreciation. We at CSU are pleased to be able to offer these brave men and women, and their families, this opportunity to earn a degree at one of the nation’s top public research universities,” said CSU President Tony Frank. “We are committed to ensuring CSU remains a top military friendly university.”
Yellow Ribbon eligibility includes:
• Veterans who have served an aggregate period of active duty after September 10, 2001 of at least 36 months;
• Veterans who were honorably discharged from active duty for a service connected disability and served 30 continuous days after September 10, 2001;
• Dependents of veterans eligible for Transfer of Entitlement under the Post-9/11 GI Bill based on a veteran’s service.
Colorado State will not place a cap on the number of veterans it will accept into the program.
Veterans can find more specifics on the CSU Admissions website at http://admissions.colostate.edu/veteranwelcome/vayellowribbon, and apply for eligibility through the Veterans Administration site at http://www.gibill.va.gov/. Qualifying veterans will receive a Certificate of Eligibility, which they submit to the Registrar’s office. All students must meet academic requirements to attend CSU.
Colorado State University has about 700 veterans – both graduate and undergraduate students - currently enrolled, and has seen that number increase each semester by about 10 percent.
The university has been recognized as a top military and veteran friendly university that offers a variety of programs to help ease transition from the military to college and ensure degree completion. Some veteran-focused program highlights follow.
CSU among Top Military Friendly Schools in the Nation
Colorado State University was named as a top military friendly school in the nation, according to G.I. Jobs magazine. The 2011 list of Military Friendly Schools honors the top 15 percent of colleges, universities and trade schools that are doing the most to embrace America’s veterans as students. Criteria for making the Military Friendly Schools list included efforts to recruit and retain military and veteran students, results in recruiting military and veteran students and academic accreditations. Schools on the Military Friendly Schools list also offer additional benefits to student veterans such as on-campus veterans programs, credit for service and military spouse programs.
Adult Learner and Veteran Services Office
Three years ago, Colorado State recognized that the number of veterans enrolling was increasing. The university assessed its services and surveyed student veterans to find out how they felt about those services. Among other things, the student veterans told the university they wanted a place where they could relax between classes and connect with each other. Adult Learner and Veteran Services, or ALVS, became a stand-alone office on July 1, 2009. The office includes study tables, computers, a group meeting room and a student-parent resource room among other features. It is staffed with four veteran work-study students and a general work-study student, all of whom are the first point of contact for student veterans. This vet-to-vet connection facilitates an environment conducive to academic and personal success. The ALVS staff serves as mentors for vets and connects them to necessary resources. Additionally, they provide vet-to-vet math and writing refresher sessions for new students. The office also has a representative from the Registrar’s office/veteran assistance area available to address questions and concerns about GI Bill benefits.
ALVS offers several programs to assist student veterans with the transition to campus and holds a veterans-only orientation at the beginning of fall and spring semesters. The orientation helps veterans learn about the college culture and what they can expect in terms of academic policies and challenges. ALVS provides an adult learner and student veteran track for transfer students at the Next Step Orientations to connect them to resources on campus and ease the transition to student life. ALVS also offers textbook awards, veteran-specific scholarships, and recognizes an outstanding veteran student each year. ALVS is a chapter member of SALUTE Veterans National Honor Society. The office produces a veteran’s newsletter each week and coordinates study groups for veterans. ALVS received a 2010 Bronze Level Excellence Award for their Veteran Support Program and SALUTE Veterans National Honor Society from the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators.
CSU Recognized for Providing Education to Colorado Army National Guard
Colorado State University’s Continuing Education program was honored this year with the presentation of a plaque and American flag to recognize the educational opportunities it provided to the Colorado Army National Guard. The flag was flown over Camp Ramadi in Al Anbar Province, Iraq. It was presented to Colorado State for “support of our service members while serving during Operation Iraqi Freedom.” From 2006-2010, Colorado State Continuing Education offered a special cohort of its Organizational Performance and Change Master of Education in Education and Human Resource Studies to 70 military personnel, some of whom served in Iraq while working to earn their degrees. Colorado State University faculty commuted weekly from Fort Collins to deliver the program on site at the National Guard headquarters in Centennial, Colo.
CSU Program Helps Returning Military Vets Overcome Injuries, Re-enter Community
A Colorado State University program announced this year helps military veterans returning from the Middle East re-enter the community – a challenge that may be characterized by brain injuries, post-traumatic stress disorder and a significant cultural shift from being at war to working along the Front Range. CSU’s New Start Program is being implemented by the Center for Community Partnerships, a service and outreach arm of the Department of Occupational Therapy in the College of Applied Human Sciences. New Start tailors a re-entry system for veterans to help them begin local career and educational pursuits.
Veteran Green Jobs Initiative
Colorado State University and Veterans Green Jobs announced on Veterans Day 2009 the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding to create the Veterans Green Jobs Education Initiative at the university. CSU was the first four-year university to partner with Veterans Green Jobs to provide “green” educational opportunities to veterans. The MOU established a formal relationship between CSU and the Denver-based, non-profit organization, Veterans Green Jobs, for the purpose of encouraging and enhancing opportunities for military veterans to attend the university, both at the undergraduate and graduate levels. The initiative promotes academic disciplines that provide post-educational career opportunities for veterans in the green-jobs sector, both in Colorado and nationally.
Success for Veterans Award Grant
Colorado State University was awarded a Success for Veterans Award Grant in spring 2009. The American Council on Education (ACE) and the Wal-Mart Foundation announced the award of $2 million in Success for Veterans Award Grants; these $100,000 grants were awarded to 20 institutions across the United States that operate model programs advancing access and success in higher education for veterans and their families.
Military Veterans Section of College Composition Course
As veterans transition from active duty to full-time student status, the strong sense of purpose, the intense camaraderie and the stimulation of shared missions in combat are exchanged for a comparatively calm and self-reliant student life. Veterans need support during this period of transition, and the CSU English Department, working with the Office of Adult Learner and Veteran Students, is providing that support in a veteran-designated first-year composition course. While the course requires students to meet the same written communication objectives as a regular composition class, the vets-only course provides veteran students with a cohort of fellow veterans who share experiences and perspectives; supportive, veteran-friendly faculty who have experience with the military and veterans; and opportunities to develop materials for the “Veteran Students Survival Manual,” an information packet distributed to student veterans at the ALVS Veteran Student Orientations each fall.
Military Youth Adventure Camps at Pingree Park, CSU’s Mountain Campus
Colorado State University Extension was awarded a grant from the Department of Defense, Office of Military Community and Family Policy and the U.S. Department of Agriculture/National Institute of Food and Agriculture to provide camps for military youth to introduce outdoor adventures and the concept of mindfulness (full attention and awareness, without judgment and emotional reactivity, to learn critical life and coping skills). Participation in enhances competence and provides kids an opportunity to make connections with other military youth. Experiencing an adventure camp in conjunction with training on mindfulness practices in a restorative setting helps kids with the healing process as well as the acquisition of skills needed to deal with future stressors in their family and school settings. Five camps are offered at the Pingree Park Campus this summer. The camps are free for military youth ages 14–18 throughout the United States.