August 26, 2009
Dear Friend of Idaho State University,
This week campus is buzzing with activity, as students return to class for fall semester and new freshman are welcomed to ISU.
Among the new students straight from high school and the seasoned students ready to take on another semester of learning are those coming from the battlefield to campus, ready to start the next chapter in life.
It can be a difficult transition, and at Idaho State University, we want to make sure our servicemen and women don’t feel alone in the process.
Recently, we were proud to be listed in G.I. Jobs magazine and website among the top 15 percent of colleges, universities and trade schools for assisting veterans with their educational goals. The list honors the top 15 percent of colleges, universities and trade schools that are doing the most to embrace America’s veterans as students. Criteria included efforts to recruit and retain military and veteran students, results in recruiting military and veteran students, and the academic quality of the institution.
Veterans can add a great wealth of experience to our classrooms. They bring a different perspective, leadership skills, and a level of maturity that benefits those around them. This fall, we plan to do more to help bring them to our University with the new Idaho State University Veterans Sanctuary Program.
Through the program, veterans will receive personalized assistance with issues such as registration, financial aid, GI Bill benefits, housing and academic counseling. The program also will feature general education classes for veterans taught by faculty members who are veterans and cohort housing available on campus for unmarried veterans. The Sanctuary is designed to meet unique needs from the perspective of a veteran, which may be different than a traditional student. Many of those assisting the veterans are veterans themselves.
In addition, the Sanctuary plans to partner with local businesses to provide scholarships to veterans who exhaust their benefits before obtaining degrees.
There is a tremendous opportunity to bring veterans to our university. Currently, there are more than 300,000 Iraq and Afghanistan War veterans eligible for the new Post 9-11 GI Bill. The bill provides increased benefits for tuition and fees, housing, books and tutoring.
These veteran students are a valuable part of the ISU community. We welcome the opportunity to provide a world-class education to those who have given so much to their country.
It’s a wonderful time of year — when we get the chance to welcome all of our students, from all walks of life and from around the world, back to campus for another year of learning.
Arthur C. Vailas, Ph.D.
President, Idaho State University