Between 2002 and 2006, Portia Scott was deployed in Kuwait for three months and in Balad, Iraq, for a total of 15 months, where she served as an administrative assistant to the lieutenant colonel of her battalion.
Today, Scott is one of 24 veterans who attend Northeastern through the federal Yellow Ribbon Program. A grant-matching partnership between the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and participating colleges and universities, the program is designed to cover higher education costs for post-9/11 veterans.
The University has committed $2 million to the program.Because ofthe size of the University’s support, qualifying veterans who enroll at Northeastern receive grant aid that covers most to all of Northeastern’s tuition and fee charges, depending on the degree program they choose. Veterans have access to a full range of programs, including bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral and law degrees.
Scott, who is working toward earning a bachelor’s degree in business management through the College of Professional Studies, has made a seamless transition from the military environments of Kuwait and Iraq to the academic world of Northeastern.
“I have enjoyed all of my classes and the professors are phenomenal,” she said. “It is very important for a lot of veterans to be able to go back to class and not have to worry about taking out loans or how to pay for living expenses. It’s a great program to take advantage of.”
For the past several months, the University has focused on how best to integrate service men and women like Scott into college life, creating an experience for them that is helpful, welcoming and supportive, said Ed Klotzbier, vice president and dean of student affairs.
Since the beginning of the fall semester, the Office of Student Affairs has been in touch with all veterans on campus via face-to-face meetings and e-mail, and created a Facebook group, Military Veterans Attending Northeastern University, to promote camaraderie among the roughly 200 veterans enrolled each year at the University.
Student affairs will host a social reception for all Northeastern veterans next Tuesday, November 17 in the Alumni Center from 6 to 8 PM. Veterans will have a chance to meet each other as well as get acquainted with staff from student affairs, financial services and representatives of student clubs and organizations, said Klotzbier.
“Veterans are in different situations depending on age, whether they are single or married, whether they have been to college before or are fresh out of the military,” he explained. “We work on an individual, case-by-case basis to decide how to best help veterans make that transition to campus life and succeed at the University.”
Northeastern looks forward to welcoming more veterans over the next several years, said Seamus Harreys, associate vice president and dean for enrollment and career services, noting that between 600,000 and 1 million veterans are expected to return to civilian life over the next 18 to 24 months.
Yellow Ribbon participants are appreciative of Northeastern’s commitment to giving back to the many veterans who have served the country since the first GI Bill was passed in 1944, throwing open the halls of colleges and universities to veterans returning from World War II.
“I’ve had several students come up to me and thank me for Northeastern’s participation in the program and for being a good member of our community in making sure that we assist those who have served our country,” added Harreys.