UMass Board Finance Committee approves “Welcome Home” waiver program
Fee Waivers for Veterans Seeking UMass Degrees
BOSTON- The UMass Board of Trustees Committee on Administration & Finance today voted to advance a policy called the "Welcome Home Waiver Program," to the full Board for a vote on June 12. The proposal would extend a partial fee waiver to Massachusetts veterans who have served in the Iraq and Afghanistan combat areas since September 11, 2001.
Under the program, Massachusetts veterans who gain admission to degree programs at UMass would be eligible for an annual mandatory fee waiver of up to $2,000 for a maximum of eight semesters (total value $8,000). The program targets the same combat veteran population eligible for the Commonwealth's "Welcome Home" bonus program and it supplements a tuition waiver policy for student veterans already in place at UMass.
"As we welcome home Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom veterans, it is fitting for the University to provide fee waivers to those veterans who want to earn a degree. Ever since the G.I. Bill was enacted in the 1940s, education benefits for service members have rewarded their sacrifice and helped make higher education attainable for our nation's veterans," said University of Massachusetts President Jack M. Wilson.
The mandatory fee policy was supported by a unanimous vote of the Board's administration and finance committee; it must now be voted on by the University's full Board of Trustees when the board meets on June 12 at UMass Lowell.
"I am pleased that the Committee approved the 'Welcome Home' waiver policy and I look forward to taking it to the full Board of Trustees next month. The least we can do for those who have served our country in combat zones is to honor their service and support their desire to pursue a degree," said Robert J. Manning, chairman of the UMass Board of Trustees.
The policy requires that students take 12 or more credits per semester and would not apply to continuing education or online courses. By some estimates, since 2001, more than 26,000 Massachusetts residents have served in combat zones in Iraq and Afghanistan and could qualify for the benefit.
Robert P. Connolly 617-287-7073
Libby DeVecchi 617-287-7023
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