The Yellow Ribbon ProgramThe Yellow Ribbon Program allows institutions of higher education, like Misericordia University, to voluntarily agree to pay an amount of tuition that Veterans Affairs will then match so veterans or their dependents can attend the school of their choice. Congress approved an expansion of the Yellow Ribbon Program in 2008, allowing Post 9/11 veterans to attend private colleges as well as public colleges. Misericordia University is one of 100 colleges and universities in Pennsylvania participating in the program and has made a commitment to provide funding for 25 students in the program. The bill also includes a housing allowance and $1,000 a year for books and supplies. U.S. Rep. Chris Carney of the 10th Congressional District of Pennsylvania held a press conference at Misericordia University on September 8, 2009 to speak to the campus community and media about college financial aid and the GI Bill's updated Yellow Ribbon Program. "It was shortsighted to only support state schools. This expanded program is an investment in this nation, a chance to help the most dedicated, disciplined and brightest men and women by making college affordable to them," Rep. Carney added.
Rep. Carney recognized three veterans of the armed services who have enrolled at MU through the program. United States Marine Corps veterans, Sgt. Jessica Pugliese of Scranton and Sgt. David Gates of Edwardsville, and Navy veteran, Petty Officer 2nd Class Joseph Frank of Kingston, have served their country and now are receiving all or part of their education funded by the program.
"Many of us remember the GI bill and how it provided financial aid to people like my father who was a Korean War veteran," said Rep. Carney, who is an active reservist with the U.S. Navy. "We have an entirely new generation of veterans who are returning from Afghanistan and Iraq. They bring with them lots of raw talent."
For Jessica Pugliese of Scranton, Pa., it was her strong sense of duty to her country after 9/11 that prompted her to enlist in the United States Marine Corps in 2003 and serve her country. "We declared war on Iraq and I believed that it was my opportunity to be a part of history," Sgt. Pugliese says. "Looking back now, it was my chance to find out what I was made of. The Marine Corps allowed me to really grow into the person I am today."
"The new GI Bill and its Yellow Ribbon component are a wonderful way for Americans to say thank you to our service men and women for a job well done," says Thomas J. Botzman, president. "We can give our veterans a college education and by doing so, improve their lives, those of their families and the economic future of America."
"I am so appreciative for Misericordia choosing to participate in such a program," says Sgt. Pugliese, who was stationed on Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point in North Carolina as a maintenance management officer (MMO). "Their decision is allowing me to have a quality education, one I wouldn't be able to afford any other way."
For more information on the Yellow Ribbon program, please contact Student Financial Services at 570-674-6280.