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    USM, Mississippi National Guard Announce Golden Eagles Free Tuition Program

    USM Offers Free Tuition for MSNG

    Photo By Spc. Jovi Prevot | The Ogletree Alumni House at the University of Southern Mississippi, where Dr. Rodney...... read more read more



    Story by Daniel Szarek 

    Joint Force Headquarters, Mississippi National Guard

    The Mississippi National Guard and the University of Southern Mississippi signed an agreement July 31, allowing the state’s Citizen Soldiers and Airmen to receive free tuition for their continuing education needs.

    Maj. Gen. Janson D. Boyles, the adjutant general of Mississippi, and Dr. Rodney D. Bennett, president of the University of Southern Mississippi, signed a memorandum of understanding for the Golden Eagle Free Tuition Program at the Ogletree Alumni House on the USM campus in Hattiesburg.

    The memorandum of understanding builds on current National Guard education benefits creating an opportunity for Mississippi Army and Air National Guard service members to reach their educational goals as they continue to serve. In order to be eligible for free tuition, a service member must be a full-time undergraduate student (at least 12 credit hours per semester); in good standing with their unit; must not be within one year of their end of term of service, and must be able to maintain a 2.0 GPA to remain eligible.

    Once a student is approved for the State Educational Assistance Program (SEAP), the university of choice receives a solid portion of tuition for each service member in proportion to all other state-supported universities. The chosen university will then combine all other benefits the student has and/or qualifies for to ensure the student graduates with a zero-tuition balance.

    The free tuition program is designed to help improve and maintain MSNG readiness and education, and to help increase recruiting efforts throughout the state. Much like military education, civilian and higher education is instrumental in the growth and advancement of service members and adds value to the total Soldier/Airman concept within the Guard.

    “Readiness is our constant goal for the Mississippi National Guard. We have to be ready at a moment’s notice to go defend this country all over the world,” said Boyles. “Developing sound leaders is a cornerstone of readiness in the military. This program allows us to develop leadership through partnering with our universities.”

    More than 50 Army and Air National Guardsmen, recruiters, senior leaders, and USM cadets were present for the ceremony. Many of them are grateful for the program, not just for the monetary advantage, but because it helps relieve some of the stress associated with university life.

    “I think it’s a great deal right now for everybody that’s in the National Guard,” said Devonte Wells, USM Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) cadet. “We don’t have to worry about tuition anymore and basically just focus on school.”

    Wells, from Brandon, will commission as a second lieutenant in the Mississippi Army National Guard upon graduation in May 2020. He currently serves with the 857th Engineer Company based in Picayune.

    The University of Southern Mississippi is the fourth institute of higher learning to form a program partnership with the MSNG in offering free tuition to Guardsmen. With notable alumni retired Army Maj. Gen. Jeffrey W. Hammond; Senator and retired Army Col. Ronald Rabin; and Astronaut and retired Army Brig. Gen. Robert L. Stewart, the legacy of serving the nation runs deep in Southern Miss pride.

    “Military service to our country is among the highest forms of patriotism and selflessness, and we take our role as a military friendly institution seriously,” said Bennett. “I could not be more proud to partner with the Mississippi National Guard to support the educational goals of the men and women whose service and sacrifice protects our state and our country through the establishment of the Golden Eagle Free Tuition Program.” #SMTTT



    Date Taken: 07.31.2019
    Date Posted: 08.02.2019 12:29
    Story ID: 334272
    Location: HATTIESBURG, MS, US 
    Hometown: HATTIESBURG, MS, US
    Hometown: JACKSON, MS, US

    Web Views: 48
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    USM, Mississippi National Guard Announce Golden Eagles Free Tuition Program