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Military veterans head to college in record numbers in Oklahoma

Veteran enrollment numbers have increased dramatically, according to the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education. Universities and colleges offer multiple programs and services to assist student veterans.
by Kathryn McNutt Published: July 13, 2014

The Post-9/11 GI Bill is bringing student veterans to campuses in record numbers, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs reports.

That certainly is the case at Oklahoma colleges and universities. With the revamped GI Bill, veteran enrollment numbers have increased dramatically, according to the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education.

Recognizing that veterans are nontraditional students who often have special needs and circumstances, higher education officials are reaching out to them through multiple programs and services.

“We’re proud to serve our veterans any way we can,” said Regent Toney Stricklin, of Lawton.

Stricklin said Oklahoma does two things particularly well.

The first is the National Guard Tuition Waiver program, which provides tuition waivers of about $2 million annually to actively serving National Guard members pursuing bachelor’s degrees.

The other is the Heroes Promise scholarship, which is available to the children of Oklahoma veterans killed after Jan. 1, 2000, in the line of duty in any branch of the U.S. Armed Forces or who died after Jan. 1, 2000, as a result of an injury received while in the line of duty. They may sign up for the award up to the age of 21 regardless of family income.

“The importance of a college education (for military personnel) has grown over time,” said Stricklin, a retired major general who earned his bachelor’s degree at Cameron University in Lawton.

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by Kathryn McNutt
Higher Education Reporter
Kathryn McNutt covers higher education for The Oklahoman and NewsOK. Since joining the staff in August 2000, she also has worked as the Breaking News editor, Metro editor and assistant Local editor. A native of Oklahoma City, she graduated from...
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By the numbers:

National

1 millionVeterans nationwide who are using some form of educational benefits provided through the Department of Veterans Affairs.

100

Percent of tuition and fees covered under the Post-9/11 GI Bill for individuals who served at least 36 months of active duty after Sept. 10, 2001. Additional money is available for housing, books and supplies.

15

Years an individual is eligible for the benefits after the last period of active duty of at least 90 consecutive days.

25

Percent of student veterans who are female.

24 to 40

Age range of most student veterans.

47

Percent of student veterans who are married and/or have children.

By the numbers: Oklahoma

12,000

Veterans who are using some form of the GI Bill. Roughly half of the current student veterans

on Oklahoma campuses are using the Post-

9/11 GI Bill.

$2 million

Annual amount of tuition waivers granted to actively serving National Guard members pursuing bachelor’s degrees.

2,756

Waivers awarded to students enrolled in a combined total of 25,665 credit hours during the 2013-14 academic year.

Sources: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education

The importance of a college education (for military personnel) has grown over time.”

Retired Maj. Gen. Toney Stricklin,

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