Fort Lewis College has been approved to participate in the Yellow Ribbon Program by the Department of Veterans Affairs.
The Yellow Ribbon Program is a modern version of the GI Bill, providing tuition help to veterans. The program covers a student's tuition up to a certain level, and then matches further college aid given by a college or university.
For in-state students at FLC, the tuition will be paid for in full, because the school's in-state tuition is less than the base rate the VA contributes. For out-of-state students, the college will contribute more to be matched by the VA, based on a number of factors including credit load.
Students who qualify for the Yellow Ribbon Program may also qualify for funds through the VA to help with expenses such as housing and books. It now is law that VA benefits do not count toward the total amount of financial aid a student can receive.
If students who are veterans already are benefiting from other specific programs at FLC, they would not qualify for the Yellow Ribbon Program. One example is the Native American Tuition Waiver, which gives Native Americans free tuition.
"For veterans, it was a good year," said Elaine Redwine, director of the FLC Financial Aid Office.
There now are 31 veterans attending FLC. Since the Yellow Ribbon Program just went into effect in July, there are only a few of them who have been able to take advantage of it so far.
The program is one of many FLC has been putting into place to increase the opportunities available to veterans.
A year ago, FLC helped form a Veterans Club, which now has its own room on campus devoted to club activities. Last year, the club brought in author and veteran Sgt. Andrew Brandi to speak about isues related to post-traumatic stress disorder.
Beginning this semester, FLC is offering a course designed specifically for vets called "Soldiers to Scholars."
Redwine's office is administering the Yellow Ribbon Program. She can be reached at 247-7464.