Yellow Ribbon Scholars

October 1, 2009
What's in a name: Sanford, with Rubenstein Hall in foreground, becomes school.Rewarding service: New GI Bill is modeled after 1944 legislation, which paid tuition for returning World War II vets like this student at Penn State.

What's in a name: Sanford, with Rubenstein Hall in foreground, becomes school. Rewarding service: New GI Bill is modeled after 1944 legislation, which paid tuition for returning World War II vets like this student at Penn State. Bettmann/CORBIS

A program open to eligible military veterans pursuing a degree at Duke will receive as much as $1.5 million in new annual financial support from the university and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), through a new fund-matching partnership that took effect before the fall semester this year.

All of Duke's schools have agreed to provide new scholarships through the Yellow Ribbon Program, a provision of the Post-9/11 GI Bill, which the federal government adopted in 2008. The voluntary program encourages colleges and universities to enter into agreements that provide enhanced aid for veterans and their families who meet the requirements of the new program. The VA will match the scholarship support the schools provide, up to designated limits.

"We welcome this opportunity to expand our support of veterans—and not only as a way to thank them for their service to our country," says President Richard H. Brodhead. "The fact is that Duke benefits immeasurably from their presence. Veterans bring a perspective and set of experiences that enrich our classroom discussions and campus life."

Brodhead says he discussed the program at length at a recent meeting in Washington with Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki A.M. '76. Former U.S. Marine Corps Sergeant Paul Salem, a sophomore and member of the Student Veteran's Association at Duke, an advocacy organization for student veterans, says his group looks forward to working with veterans who enroll at Duke.

"This new program will help ensure that qualified veterans consider Duke a viable option for their undergraduate or graduate studies," Salem says. "We are coordinating with the student-affairs office and others on campus to create a community that will ease the veterans' transition to academic life and enhance their chances for success."