18:00 PM

Ohio State recognized for services for veterans

The Ohio State University is one of the nation's top institutions for veterans, according to G.I. Jobs magazine. The publication ranks Ohio State's Columbus campus as a "Military Friendly School" for 2010. The honor places Ohio State in the top 15% of all colleges.

The ranking recognizes Ohio State's military-friendly policies, efforts and results to recruit and retain military and veteran students.

Michael Forrest, director of Veterans Affairs at Ohio State, says administrators try to make Ohio State a welcoming place for veterans.

"We want veterans to come to Ohio State and use their benefits. We want to help them make themselves more competitive so they can do well. The government is giving them a huge entitlement and we want them to take advantage of it," said Forrest.

More than 1,200 veterans are expected to attend Ohio State this year.

Between the Ohio GI Promise and the expanded federal veterans benefits under the new Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act, college tuition, and many living and educational expenses are paid for veterans, depending on their length of active duty service.

The Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act pays up to the full in-state undergraduate tuition for up to 36 months. (Many students attend nine months per year for four years). The new benefits also include a living stipend, which is $1,000 per month in Columbus, as well as approximately $1,000 annually for books. Eligible veterans are entitled to a percentage of the maximum benefit (ranging from 40-100%) based on their length of active duty service.

The Ohio GI Promise seeks to make Ohio the most veteran-friendly state in the country for higher education. It allows qualified veterans and their families – no matter where they are from – to skip the 12-month residency requirement and attend any University System of Ohio school at in-state tuition rates.

Forrest says under the Ohio GI Promise, the state's four-year public universities work together to make sure veterans attend the institution that best fits their needs. "There's a lot more collaboration going on among the four-year schools. We try to point a veteran to a school that is close to home, or that has a program that fits their educational goals," said Forrest.

Forrest says the Ohio GI Promise is one of the big reasons Ohio State was recognized as a Military Friendly School, since it allows Ohio institutions to offer in-state tuition for out-of-state students. He says another factor in Ohio State's favor is the university's clear, written policy that outlines procedures for students to withdraw and return to school without penalty if activated for duty.

Ohio State is also participating in a program that makes it easier for veterans to attend the university's medical or law school.

The Yellow Ribbon GI Education Enhancement Program is part of the Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Plan.

Under Yellow Ribbon, Ohio State will offer an additional $3,000 annually to eight veterans who attend the Moritz College of Law, and an additional $8,000 to two veterans who attend the Ohio State University College of Medicine. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs will match Ohio State's contribution.

For more information, contact Ohio State's Office of Veterans Affairs, http://hr.osu.edu/vet/