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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Yellow Ribbon program expands in Alabama

A provision of the new Post-9/11 GI Bill is finally getting some traction in Alabama.

The educational benefit for veterans already covers tuition up to the highest in-state for undergraduate education in the veteran's home state.

The recently established Yellow Ribbon program helps veterans cover costs over that rate, such as graduate work, private schools or out-of-state tuition.

It's a voluntary program on the part of private colleges and public universities to waive up to 50 percent of the additional expense and the Department of Veterans Affairs will match that amount.

I wrote a story about the program in April and at the time, few Alabama universities knew about the program or had plans to participate.

Today, I got an e-mail announcing that all 13 members of the Alabama Association of Independent Colleges and Universities will participate in the Post 9-11 Veterans Education Assistance Act.

According to the VA, the maximum per credit hour rate in Alabama is $243 and the maximum total for fees per term is $12,612.

Four of the colleges have tuition low enough to be covered by the new GI Bill and the other nine are participating in the Yellow Ribbon program.

Troy University, University of Alabama, South University Montgomery, Auburn Montgomery and Virginia College are also participating in the Yellow Ribbon program.

The following AAICU schools are participating in the Yellow Ribbon program:

--Amridge University- Montgomery

--Birmingham-Southern College- Birmingham

--Faulkner University – Montgomery

--Huntingdon College- Montgomery

--Judson College- Marion

--Samford University- Birmingham

--Spring Hill College- Mobile

--United States Sports Academy- Daphne

--University of Mobile- Mobile

Independent college programs with tuition already low enough to be fully reimbursed without need for the Yellow Ribbon enhancement are:

--Talladega College- Talladega

--Concordia College- Selma

--Miles College- Fairfield

--Stillman College- Tuscaloosa

Check the Montgomery Advertiser on Wednesday for a full story.

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I grew up in the military. Mom was an Air Force nurse for a few years, dad was a navigator on B-52s, among other things. One grandfather served in World War II, uncle is retired Navy, other grandfather and great-uncle served in Korea and a cousin is currently serving in the Marine Corps. Currently, I'm the military reporter for the Great Falls Tribune in Montana. Previously, 


As a military kids, we moved all over. As an adult, I've traveled all over and moved for work. But now, I'm putting down roots in Montana with my boyfriend. We just bought a house and are slowly but surely making it our home. We have more land that we know what to do with at the moment. Now we're getting a garden started, tearing down walls and having loads of fun at what we call the Homestead.

In a part life, I did PR for the guy who built the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on the National Mall, social media for the National Museum of Health and Medicine, before that, edited two military technology magazines for a publishing group in the DC area and before that, I was the military reporter (among other things) at the Montgomery Advertiser, covering Maxwell Air Force Base, the Alabama National Guard, veterans and anything else military related in the area. And in between all of that, I leave town, preferably the country, whenever possible. It all started when I spent a semester in New Zealand.

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