Two University students from a national student veterans advocacy organization urged the University Board of Regents yesterday to adopt more veteran-friendly policies in an effort to make it easier for veterans to attend the University.

The two student-veterans, representing the Student Veterans of America organization, asked the Board of Regents to offer in-state tuition to all veterans, waive application fees for veterans, extend application deadlines for deployed soldiers and award academic credit for specialized training received while in the armed forces.

LSA junior Derek Blumke, who founded the Student Veterans of America, told the regents that by charging all veterans the in-state tuition rate — regardless of residency — that the University could attract more highly qualified veterans. The 21st Century GI Bill, which will take affect in 2009, will cover the full cost of in-state tuition for veterans and provide a housing stipend.

Blumke also said the University should create an extended admission application deadline for veterans returning from deployment to accommodate their needs. He talked about some potential students who may be deployed at the time applications are due but hope to enroll the following semester.

By waiving the application fee, Blumke said the University could encourage more veterans to apply. He said that the University has the second lowest veteran enrollment in the Big Ten, with only 48 veterans enrolled in 2007. Ohio State University had 598 veterans enrolled in 2007.

Blumke also urged the regents to consider allowing student-veterans to receive academic transfer credit for advanced training that has an equivalent at the University level. If approved, veterans may qualify for transfer credit for training in topics like foreign languages and engineering.

LSA senior Carl Ireland, the Michigan legislative director for the Student Veterans of America, also spoke before the regents on the issue, telling the board that when he enrolled, the GI bill only covered $11,000 of tuition costs.

“As you guys can put together pretty quickly I’m under a mountain of debt right now,” he said.

Ireland added that by offering in-state tuition to out-of-state veterans, the University would receive full tuition payment from the federal government while not having to offer any financial aid or scholarships.

-Erik Torenberg contributed to this report.

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