Duckworth encourages Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans to learn about new educational opportunities

Duckworth encourages Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans to learn about new educational opportunities
August 29, 2008

Phil Brozynski, Media Relations Manager
(630) 829-6094

CHICAGO – As the new school year begins, Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs (IDVA) Director L. Tammy Duckworth is urging Illinois’ Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans to take advantage of and learn about the new educational opportunities that are available. Benedictine University is now offering Illinois Veterans of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) a free college education. Illinois Veterans also have the option of using the Illinois Veterans Grant (IVG) Program – a state program that pays tuition and certain fees at any of the Illinois state-supported colleges, universities and community colleges. “With college tuition constantly rising and the economy struggling, it can be extremely difficult for Veterans and their families to be able to afford to go to college. But getting a good solid education is important and our Veterans, those who stood forward and defended this country, deserve to have the opportunity to pursue a college education,” said Director Duckworth. “I want to encourage all of our Veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan to take advantage of the new programs that are available and get the education and benefits you deserve.” In 2001, Benedictine University began offering a free education to Illinois’ police and fire personnel through the First Responder Program. Starting this fall, the University has extended its Program to Illinois Veterans returning from service in Iraq and Afghanistan. “Just when I began to think that the University’s outreach to first responders had peaked, I realized that there was another group of first responders who were having a very difficult time – the men and women in the armed services in Iraq and Afghanistan. These volunteer first responders put their lives on the line in service to their country and deserve our gratitude and our help,” said William J. Carroll, Ph.D., president of Benedictine University. Benedictine’s First Responders Program is an unparalleled educational degree program that seeks to provide Illinois police and fire personnel, and now Illinois Veterans, with access to affordable and quality higher education. Tuition is free and the only thing Veterans have to pay for is for textbooks and fees. Illinois Veterans who participate in the First Responders Program will be able to pursue an Associate of Arts in Business Administration (A.A.B.A.) or a Bachelor of Arts in Management (B.A.M.) degree at no tuition cost. Participants will also be able to pursue a Master of Business Administration (M.B.A), Master of Public Health (M.P.H.), or Master of Science in Management and Organizational Behavior (M.S.M.O.B.) degree at 50 percent tuition cost. Benedictine University will also extend half-tuition benefits to members of reserve units who are not deployed, to prepare them educationally prior to deployment, and extend half-tuition benefits to college-aged children of reservists who are deployed while participating in the program. To enroll in the First Responders Program or to find out more information, contact Autumn Lynumn, Assistant to Associate Dean, First Responder and Professional Development programs, at 630-829-6126 or at alynumn@ben.edu. In addition to these new educational benefits, Illinois Veterans also have an option to go to any public or community college for free, by using the IVG program. The IVG program pays tuition and certain fees at all Illinois state-supported colleges, universities and community colleges for Illinois Veterans. To be eligible for the IVG program, a Veteran must have received an honorable discharge; reside in Illinois six months before entering the service; have at least one full year of active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces which includes Veterans who were assigned to active duty in a foreign country in a time of hostilities in that country, regardless of length of service; and return to Illinois within six months of discharge from the service. Applications and additional information about the IVG program are available at IDVA’s 51 Veteran Service Offices throughout the state, college financial aid offices or the Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) located at 1755 Lake Cook Road, Deerfield, 60015. Veterans can also call 847-948-8550 or 800-899-ISAC or visit www.collegezone.com to apply or for more information.


Benedictine University is located in Lisle, Illinois, just 25 miles west of Chicago, and has branch campuses in Springfield, Illinois, and Mesa, Arizona. Founded as a Catholic university in 1887, Benedictine enrolls nearly 10,000 students in 56 undergraduate and 19 graduate programs. Forbes magazine named Benedictine among "America's Top Colleges" for the sixth consecutive year in 2016. Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (hlcommission.org). For more information, contact (630) 829-6300, admissions@ben.edu or visit ben.edu.