Mercy Dubbed ‘Military Friendly’, Begins New Club

By Alex Lacey

Whie Bart Rodriguez is forming a club at Mercy College, he certainly doesn’t like the use of the word.

Rodriguez has begun his preparations to begin the Military Club, to add to the one of the many military friendly programs Mercy College offers. He feels so passionate about it, he wants others to know that he looks at his fellow brothers and sisters in fatigues as family.

“It’s a brotherhood,” said the veteran of the Marines. “I hate to use the world club.”

Mercy is helping lead the way for military veterans to enter college after their service. GI Jobs magazine has announced that Mercy College is now deemed a “military friendly school,” and is in the top 15 percent of colleges nationwide for its amount of military students.

Mercy College is showing that its military friendliness by participating in the Montgomery GI Bill, which gives veterans free, if not a very discounted tuition, and money for books.

The new bill, passed in 2009, updates the original GI Bill passed in 1944 to assist veterans going to college after service.

The bill will only assist veterans who have had at least 90 days of aggregate service, or were discharged due to disability, after Sept. 11, 2001. The new bill is expected to bring many veterans to make the decision to go back to school.

Mercy College’s Vice President for enrollment management Deidre Whitman already sees the increasing numbers,

“We’ve had a nice jump in military students,” she said.

Also helping the military students is the Yellow Ribbon Program. The Program allows for an increase in the aid that undergraduates can receive to pay their tuition. The Department of Veterans Affairs will match the aid the college is willing to give. If it is half the tuition, then the VA will cover the other half.

Military students must apply for the program, which is on a first-come, first serve basis.