University of Rochester

University of Rochester Joins Yellow Ribbon Program

June 24, 2009

Pledges Full Scholarships to U.S. Armed Forces Veterans

Today the United States Department of Veterans Affairs is expected to release a list of more than 500 colleges and universities, including the University of Rochester, that have signed agreements to participate in their Yellow Ribbon Program. The program, which goes into effect on August 1, is part of the newly revised GI Bill and provides financial support for Post-9/11 veterans.

"The revised GI Bill recognizes that individuals who have sacrificed their time and other opportunities in service deserve access to the best higher education the nation can afford," said Jonathan Burdick, dean of admissions and financial aid. "The University of Rochester is one of the places where veterans can excel and train for continuing leadership and we are happy to support them."

In anticipation of the program's launch, last fall the University created the Rochester Pledge Scholarship to meet the requirements of the program, guaranteeing full tuition and mandatory fees support for qualified veterans attending the College and the Eastman School of Music undergraduate studies program. The scholarship is named in recognition of University alumnus Francis Bellamy, who in 1892 wrote the original Pledge of Allegiance. The University's contribution, combined with benefits under the revised GI Bill, guarantees full tuition for veterans with 36 or more months' service. Veterans with fewer than the 36 months of service needed for the full scholarship will be eligible for Pledge scholarships pro-rated based on their length of service.

The scholarship will serve the increasing number of discharged post-9/11 veterans returning from three or more years of service and, as a transferable benefit, the Rochester Pledge also will assist dependent children of active-duty servicemen and servicewomen. The scholarship helps to ensure that no veteran pursuing a bachelor's degree faces financial barriers while attending the University, Burdick said.

Veterans requiring extra assistance may seek additional University and Federal sources of self help aid through the College Board's CSS PROFILE analysis service and the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). Those entering as first-year or transfer students must meet normal admissions requirements. The University of Rochester meets full demonstrated financial need of every undergraduate, but the Pledge Scholarship will help veterans by greatly reducing the need to borrow with federal or private loans, Burdick explained.

In addition to meeting the financial needs of veterans, academic and student services such as college advising and the counseling center are also expanding their services as a central resource for veterans. Other planned programs include a special orientation event, guaranteed apartment-style housing, and parking and priority enrollment for veterans.

Along with the University, other area colleges enrolled in the program include Nazareth College, Rochester Institute of Technology, Saint John Fisher College, and Roberts Wesleyan College.