Lourdes College offers free tuition to veteransWritten by Amy Biolchini | | ABiolchini@toledofreepress.com
Since Lourdes College in Sylvania opened its Veterans Affairs Center in 2009, the school has increased the number of attending veteran students from 31 to 53. The Veterans Center, in conjunction with the other services Lourdes offers to students with backgrounds in military service, has led to the college’s rank in GI Jobs Magazine’s top 15 percent of military friendly institutions in the U.S.
Lourdes has partnered with the University of Toledo’s division of ROTC to offer their training program to Lourdes College students. One of the ROTC students at Lourdes, Adam Fricker, was discharged from three years of active duty so he could train to be an officer.
“I was looking for a more adult campus, a smaller campus. The recruiting officer at the University of Toledo’s ROTC told me about it,” Fricker said.
Fricker, 23, is finishing his second year at Lourdes in the nursing program. Prior to attending Lourdes, Fricker served in active duty with the 3rd Brigade at Fort Benning, Georgia.
“It’s been outstanding,” Fricker said of his experience with the Lourdes College staff. “They bent over backward for me.”
Upon graduation, Fricker said he will be commissioned as a 2nd lieutenant with the Army.
Through the Yellow Ribbon GI Education Enhancement Program that resulted from the Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2008, Lourdes is able to waive fees and offer free tuition to veteran students. In addition to free tuition, Lourdes also awards an Ohio National Guard “Hero” Scholarship, a ROTC Housing Scholarship and an Air Force ROTC scholarship for students of nursing.
Kim Grieve, dean of students at Lourdes, cites the numerous services the college offers as a driving factor of the increased enrollment by veteran students.
“We’ve seeen increased enrollment because of the Yellow Ribbon program and because our veteran assitant gets out into the community. Plus I think the nature of the school; we’re a real small school. With the 14:1 class size, it’s really helpful for students.”
In the Veterans Center, students work with counselor Michael Gill-Jacobson, a member of the support staff who has previously served in the military, Grieve said. Gill-Jacobson helps direct veterans to services available to them, including financing and housing options.