By George Mauzy
U.S. military veterans, their spouses and dependents now can attend Ohio University or any other Ohio public university at in-state tuition rates under the new Ohio GI Promise.
Gov. Ted Strickland created the initiative by executive order Tuesday to enhance veterans' education benefits in the state. It complements a new Post-911 GI Bill, which takes effect Aug. 1, 2009, and will double college benefits for eligible veterans and provide a monthly housing allowance and $1,000 a year for books and other supplies.
"This new initiative is exciting because it provides access to the university for students who may have not attended otherwise," President Roderick J. McDavis said. "It is a well-deserved and appropriate benefit for the men and women who have served our country."
According to an Ohio Board of Regents news release, Ohio is the first state to offer in-state tuition rates to all veterans, their spouses and dependents.
"(The initiative) delivers real support to veterans while helping strengthen Ohio's strategic plan for higher education, which calls for attracting and keeping talent in the state," Ohio Board of Regents Chancellor Eric D. Fingerhut said in the release. He added that veterans "bring maturity, motivation and leadership with them. They are precisely the kind of students Ohio needs in its colleges and universities."
In addition to modifying residency requirements for veterans and their families, the executive order calls for:
- A fall University System of Ohio conference on veterans' services that will examine current best practices and determine what new veterans' services are needed at each state public institution
- The Ohio Board of Regents to propose legislation allowing Ohio National Guard Scholarships to be used for graduate study, housing, books, supplies and transportation, rather than just tuition and fees, as is currently the case
- Collaboration with the American Council on Education to certify all Ohio universities and colleges as Servicemember Opportunity Colleges, which would allow veterans to transfer college credit earned during military service and approved by ACE to any USO institution
For information, call 1-877-VETS-OH-1 or visit the Ohio GI Promise page on the USO Web site.