An increase in Yellow Ribbon Program benefits and the hiring of a new program manager are among the newly implemented changes.
By Briahnna Brown
The George Washington University Office of Military and Veteran Student Services (OMVSS) announced a series of changes for the 2018-19 academic year, including an increase of Yellow Ribbon Program benefits and a new project manager.
Andrew Sonn, the director of OMVSS, said that the office is planning to expand its activities and initiatives directly related to supporting GW’s more than 1,800 military-affiliated students.
“We will continue to position GW as a leader among Yellow Ribbon participating colleges and universities,” Dr. Sonn said. “These benefits will offer each eligible student the opportunity to attend GW at little or no cost in terms of tuition and fees.
“At the same time,” he continued, “GW offers a student community space, located at 2035 F St., NW, for military-affiliated students to study, access university and Department of Veteran Affairs services and to, in short, have a home away from home.”
GW increased its Yellow Ribbon Program contributions for eligible undergraduate and graduate students to align with tuition increases because the program is designed to match remaining tuition costs above the Post 9/11 GI Bill coverage.
In the 2018-19 academic year, under the Yellow Ribbon Program, GW and the Department of Veteran Affairs will each contribute a maximum of $22,700 for undergraduate students, a $200 increase; $18,600 for graduate students in the Law School, a $740 increase; and $14,750 for graduate students in all other schools, a $750 increase.
The OMVSS will hold a webinar in July to help students understand the newly enacted Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act, also known as the Forever GI Bill, which will bring changes to veteran education benefits over the next few years.
The office also updated its mission statement to emphasize the focus on supporting military-affiliated student success through a holistic, community-building approach, Dr. Sonn explained. To further this mission, the office welcomed Christian “Mac” Manning to the team in April, and he will serve as project manager for the office.
Mr. Manning is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran who previously was a liaison and transfer admissions counselor for Stevenson University’s military and veteran services. As project manager for OMVSS, he advises the GW Veterans student organization, plans community-building activities and establishes partnerships with veteran-serving organizations across the country.
As an outdoorsman and a former college athlete, Mr. Manning is a big believer in the benefits of physical fitness for both the mind and body. He has been working on outdoor and physical fitness initiatives for military-affiliated students to build on programs OMVSS already has, such as the Military Mile Memorial March (M4) 5K Run or Walk. Mr. Manning said that physical activity is a great avenue to enrich student-university culture.
“We have a vibrant community on the GW campus, and my goal is to continue to expand that and improve upon it as best I can,” Mr. Manning said. “Every veteran is looking for something different, but they're all trying to come here for a quality and enriching educational experience, which they're going to receive.
“Our job is to connect students to the variety of resources available and to build a thriving community for military-affiliated students. I am looking forward to the 2018-2019 academic year and continuing to build community among GW students in a variety of ways.”