May 12, 1998
LANSING -- In recognition of the service of Michigan National Guard members to the state and nation, Gov. John Engler and Western Michigan University President Diether H. Haenicke May 12 unveiled a precedent-setting tuition grant program for members of the guard to attend WMU.
The WMU tuition grant program is the first by a public university in Michigan. It is designed to provide all eligible members of the Michigan Air and Army National Guard with up to the full cost of tuition at WMU, combining federal and WMU tuition assistance. Michigan guard members who are eligible to receive the federal Montgomery GI Bill can participate in the WMU tuition grant program.
Joining Haenicke and Engler, who is commander-in-chief of the Michigan National Guard, was Maj. Gen. E. Gordon Stump, Michigan adjutant general.
Engler commended the University and thanked Haenicke for his leadership in the development of this initiative. "This program is another example of the world-class educational opportunities available at Western Michigan University," he said. "WMU's commitment to the men and women of the Michigan National Guard represents a significant investment in the security of our state and nation."
Engler noted that the national guard is playing an increasing role in humanitarian and peace-keeping missions around the world. At home, the guard is involved in missions of domestic security as well as response to natural disasters.
"Guard members' access to higher education greatly increases their skills, abilities and insights as they fulfill both their mission as soldiers and airmen as well as their role as citizens of Michigan and the United States," Engler said. "We are grateful to WMU for its willingness to participate in this exciting program."
During the ceremony, Haenicke recognized the dual role of the National Guard. "It is vital to the defense of our nation and the protection of the citizens of Michigan to ensure that the men and women of the Michigan National Guard have the best education we can provide them," Haenicke said. "It is with great pride that all of us at WMU enter into this partnership, which is part of our continuing efforts to extend access to public higher education to the people of Michigan."
Stump also thanked Haenicke for this initiative, on behalf of the 12,000 men and women of the Michigan Army and Air National Guard.
"Education is a vital component in the development of 21st century guard members," he said. "The participation of our guard members in this tuition grant program will have a dramatic impact on their ability to access higher education and on our ability to attract high caliber citizens to our ranks."
Haenicke also acknowledged the support of the National Guard Association of Michigan, a private group made up of current and former army and air guard members. The association played a significant role in the establishment of the program.
Qualified Michigan National Guard members can enroll in any degree program at WMU beginning with the summer session, which starts June 24. Full-time students are eligible for WMU grants up to $800 per fall and winter semester and up to $400 per spring and summer session. Part-time students receive prorated amounts.
This program will be available at all WMU locations in Michigan, including its five regional centers. Required fees, books and other expenses will continue to be the responsibility of the enrolled guard student. Several hundred students are expected to participate in the first year of the program.
For more information, persons may contact the Michigan Air National Guard through its recruiting offices, its retention offices or its personnel office at (517) 483-5512 or the Michigan Army National Guard through its unit recruiters or its state education officer at (517) 483-5519.
Media contact: Mike Matthews; firstname.lastname@example.org
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