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Drexel Marks First Year of Yellow Ribbon Program for Veterans

August 12, 2010

More than 100 military veterans will attend Drexel University in the fall term as the Yellow Ribbon Program for Post 9/11 Veterans moves into its second year. Nearly 200 students are already attending Drexel using GI Bill and Yellow Ribbon benefits.

When Drexel announced its participation in the Yellow Ribbon Program in 2009, the University committed $2 million to provide a free education to an unlimited number of military veterans across all of the University’s full- and part-time undergraduate, graduate, doctoral and professional programs, on all campuses and online. Because of this commitment, veteran Ibrahim Kobeissi, who served as a corporal in the Marine Corps, is now pursuing a graduate degree in arts administration.

“Personally, the Yellow Ribbon Program has given me motivation to advance both my career and individual growth,” Kobeissi said. “The program is helping veterans like myself achieve something far more important than the battlefield: an education.”

The University’s contribution allows veterans who meet government and admissions requirements to receive a completely free education at all of Drexel’s colleges and schools, including the Drexel University College of Medicine, Earle Mack School of Law, Drexel at Burlington County College and the Sacramento Center for Graduate Studies.

John Petrone notes that the VA was very helpful in providing information about the program and assisting with his application. “Under the Yellow Ribbon Program, the VA is covering my tuition for the One Year MBA program at Drexel’s LeBow College of Business, as well as giving me a stipend to help support my wife and son,” Petrone said. “I can't say enough about this program and what it is doing for my professional development.” Petrone, a Moorestown, N.J. resident, was commissioned from West Point and served in the Army as a field artillery officer.

Certifying students to the VA is a complex process and requires a high level of involvement from Drexel’s Office of Financial Aid and the Office of the Bursar. The program faced some initial challenges as the VA was not fully prepared for the number of students participating in the program and payments were initially delayed, however, the situation has improved.

“The Yellow Ribbon Program at Drexel has been a life changing event for me and my family,” according to Saeed Goodman of Browns Mills N.J. Goodman served in the Navy as a petty officer second class. He is majoring in construction management. “This program has paid my entire tuition and fees, and has been very flexible with my schedule with regard to my around the clock activities of work, military reserves, and family. I couldn't ask for anything more than what they have already given me.”

Drexel matches the government’s contribution toward the cost of an education, allowing eligible veterans to attend the University with no out-of-pocket expenses—the federal government will pay up to the highest in-state school tuition and any remaining cost will be covered by the government and Drexel, offering eligible servicepersons a free education. Additionally, Drexel provides a $5,000 per year Veteran’s Award to full-time undergraduate veterans who may not be eligible for the Yellow Ribbon program and a 15 percent discount in tuition for veterans and their family members who are enrolled in online programs.

“Drexel is continuing its long tradition of providing educational opportunities to military personnel, be it on one of our three campuses or in one of our 90-plus fully online degree programs,” said Provost Mark Greenberg. “We are proud to be able to give back to those who have sacrificed so much to serve our country.”

A special office, Veteran Student Services, has been established to better serve students in the program. Drexel also established a Veteran Student Task force to make veterans’ entry into the University as smooth as possible, address their personal and academic needs and utilize their experiences to educate current, non-military students.

The Yellow Ribbon program is open to veterans who served an aggregate period of active duty after September 10, 2001 of at least 36 months or were honorably discharged from active duty for a service-connected disability and served 30 continuous days after September 10, 2001. Veterans who served shorter periods of time or prior to 2001 may be eligible for significant educational assistance under other G.I. Bill programs and they are encouraged to check with the Veterans Administration regarding their eligibility.

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Admissions and Veteran Student Services Contact: Shannon Finning at 215-895-2501or sfinning@drexel.edu News Media Contact: Craig Eisenberger at 215-895-2705 or cae24@drexel.edu

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