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Serving student veterans

Northeastern University has reaffirmed its commitment to educating student veterans by increasing the number of servicemembers who can enroll through the federal government’s Yellow Ribbon Program.

A change in the program’s funding structure will enable Northeastern to enroll up to 252 student veterans beginning this fall. The program, which operates in conjunction with the Department of Veterans Affairs, currently provides free tuition to roughly 120 veterans who have served in the post-9/11 era.

In 2009, Northeastern pledged $2 million to help veterans earn a college education through the program, which offers students access to a full range of degree programs, including bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral and law degrees.

Student veterans praised Northeastern’s execution of the program.

“Northeastern is the best bet for veterans in the Boston area,” said Michael Trudeau, who served in the Navy from 2004 to 2009 on the USS Columbus submarine. “I would have been in debt if I had gone to any other Yellow Ribbon school, but I don’t have any debt at Northeastern.”

Trudeau, the president of Northeastern’s chapter of Student Veterans of America, learned of the program’s plan to increase enrollment at a meeting of student veterans and members of the university’s administration and then tweeted the good news.

The senior political science major said student veterans bring a unique worldview to the campus community. “Veterans bring maturity, insight and a global perspective that most students cannot,” he explained.

Andrew McCarty, BS ’12, an Air Force veteran and a staff adviser for the Student Veterans Organization, agreed with Trudeau’s assessment, noting that servicemembers have invaluable experience that traditional students who attend college directly after high school may not.

“Student veterans have traveled the world and been responsible for large budgets for technology that costs millions of dollars,” he said. “They have been placed in positions of great responsibility and have excelled in response to the rigorous demands of their military experience.”