BIG RAPIDS – Arthur L. Tebo, a 1972 graduate of Ferris State University, served as a counter intelligence agent in Washington, D.C. during the Vietnam War.
No one has to explain to Tebo the significance of the new Post-9/11 GI Bill (which went into effect in August) for veterans who have served their country. The immediate past chair of the Ferris Board of Trustees benefited from an older GI Bill and sees the new-and-improved bill as an important step toward giving back to veterans who serve their country and desire to pursue a college education when they return home.
“My memorable experience is coming back from Vietnam, going to school at Ferris and being a part of the GI Bill,” said Tebo, who earned a Business Administration degree. “Today, we’re doing that for all these students who put their lives on the line for our country and now are in school. We are helping these young (veterans) in the best way and helping the young people who are just into school understand where these kids, who are returning from service, have been and what they are for our future.”
As the cost of a college education has continued to rise, the benefits under the old Montgomery GI Bill, signed into law in 1984, fell significantly short of covering the costs of a college education, officials said. With the new Post-9/11 GI Bill (chapter 33) this shortfall was eliminated as veterans now have all tuition and fees payments paid for up to 36 months if they served in the military for at least 36 months.
Veterans also receive a housing allowance of approximately $1,300 and receive a $1,000 stipend to cover books and supplies needed for classes.
Based upon the amount of time served, veterans with less than 36 months of service can have a percentage of tuition and fees paid.
Being a military-friendly campus has been a tradition at Ferris, said Troy Tissue, associate director of Admissions and Records. A former Navyman, Tissue can appreciate the way that Ferris has reached out to military veterans to help them find a home to pursue a college degree.
“Ferris State University has a long and proud history of serving its military veteran student population,” Tissue said. “During the past year, the university has been honored as becoming a Supportive Education for the Returning Veteran (SERV) college. (Ferris is) the only such university or college within the state of Michigan with this designation. This is especially exciting, as a SERV school combines academic and student affairs programming in support of its veteran student body.”
Ferris also sponsors a Military Veteran Scholarship Program that is worth $1,000 annually and is renewable for three years. GI Jobs selected Ferris as a 2010 Military Friendly School to place the university among the top 15 percent of all schools nationwide.
Beyond the scholarship, Tissue highlighted an on-campus military veteran student organization for veterans to help the transition to student life and help provide continued support. Ferris also has added U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs Work Study positions in Enrollment Services to support outreach programming for prospective and veteran students, he added. He also noted that Ferris is a Service Members Opportunity College, offers an Army ROTC curriculum and the Michigan National Guard Tuition Grant program.
“Ferris is simply a great place for our service members to realize their college experience and be pursuant towards a college degree,” Tissue added.
Learn more about the Post-9/11GI Bill at www.gibill.va.gov/GI_Bill_Info/CH33/Post-911.htm.