Implementation of the Post-9/11 GI Bill and TCU’s participation in the Yellow Ribbon program has led to an increase in veteran enrollment and created more opportunities for the university to raise awareness of veterans and help satisfy their needs.
According to an article in The Texas Tribune, several Texas schools have experienced a growth in veteran enrollment, but TCU did not track veteran applications until fall 2009.
Director of Transfer Admissions Amanda Sanchez, who oversees the admission of veterans, said about 140 veterans have enrolled since TCU added a check box to the application to identify veterans.
According to the GI Bill website, The Post-9/11 GI Bill provides financial support for education and housing of individuals with at least 90 days of service after 9/11 and was implemented at the same time TCU started tracking veteran applications. The bill covers the cost of public institutions for veterans, but has a limit for those attending private universities.
Jonathan Roark, director of emergency preparedness and business continuity, served in the Navy. He said TCU has done all it could do to help the veterans since the bill set the scholarship amount to $17,500 a year for private school students.
“TCU stepped up and did the right thing,” Roark said. “They were going to make up that deficit for the students who were here and already committed.”
The Yellow Ribbon program helps veterans make up the extra amount for school that the bill does not cover, Carl Kurtz, a sophomore geology major and Marine Corps veteran, said.
Kurtzsaid TCU has made it possible for him to continue with his degree due to its participation in the Yellow Ribbon program.
“TCU really stepped up to help cover [veterans],” Kurtz said.
April Brown, assistant director of Inclusiveness and Intercultural Services and the co-chair of the veterans’ services task force committee, said there are 258 veterans currently using the Post-9/11 GI Bill at TCU.
The veterans’ services task force committee was formed because there is no department of veterans affairs at TCU, Brown said. The goals of the committee are to reach out to veterans on campus, create a support system for those veterans and to gather information regarding their needs.
Brown said TCU is working to engage veterans and other nontraditional students.
“I think TCU is very excited about nontraditional students in general because of their leadership skills and life experiences that they bring not just to the campus, but to the classroom,” Brown said.
Roark said veterans bring qualities to the university many other students are not able to provide.
“Whatever they do in the university, whether it’s anything to do with the veterans or some other organization, they bring that leadership, that level of dedication, that level of maturity to whatever organization they are a part of,” Roark said.
Sanchez said working with veterans through the application and admission process is one of the most valuable parts of her job.
“I am really proud of the veterans and it’s one of the most meaningful things that I do in my job, so I am really lucky to do it,” she said.