Accompanied by Major General James Hoyer, Adjutant General for the state of West Virginia, President Edwin Welch introduced the West Virginia National Guard Golden Eagle Scholarship. The scholarship will provide $9,000 per year in tuition assistance for active members of the West Virginia Army and Air National Guard.
Undergraduate tuition at the University of Charleston will be $19,500 beginning in fall, 2012, following a recent 22% reduction. The State of West Virginia provides a $6,000 educational stipend to National Guard members, and the federal government provides $4,500 per year in tuition assistance to active members of the Army National Guard. The $9,000 in scholarship aid from UC will mean that members of the Army National Guard can attend UC tuition-free.
According to Dr. Edwin Welch, president of UC, “The self-discipline and responsibility required to be a member of the armed forces gives these students a great foundation for success in college. This is our way of opening the doors wider to the men and women who serve our country in the National Guard. “
General Hoyer, a 1983 graduate of UC, said, “We greatly appreciate Dr. Welch and the University of Charleston for providing this opportunity, which allows our Guardsmen a broader range of options to pursue four-year and postgraduate education in an accelerated learning environment.”
Two UC students are already benefiting from the new program this semester. Stephanie Nichols, a sophomore from Cross Lanes, W.Va., wants to be a military nurse. She is already a “31 Bravo,” the term used to describe military police in the National Guard. Stephanie has a good idea of what she is getting into – her father is a logistics officer in the Army National Guard and her mother is a nurse at CAMC-Teays Valley.
Charles Usina, a sophomore who grew up in St. Augustine, Fla., was recruited in 2010 to play football for the Golden Eagles. When he later got involved with the ROTC, he decided to pursue a career in the military. Usina is a “19 Delta,” or cavalry scout, with plans to fly military helicopters.
In addition to the National Guard scholarship, the University of Charleston participates in the Yellow Ribbon Program, which provides tuition benefits to veterans.