COLUMBIA COLLEGE STUDENT COUNCIL
Proposed: Sunday, September 21, 2014
Resolution to Call Upon the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Sciences to Extend Yellow Ribbon Funding to Undergraduate Veterans
WHEREAS Columbia University has a storied past of mutual cooperation with the US Armed Forces, exemplified in famous alumni such as the father of the “Nuclear Navy”, Rear Admiral Hyman Rickover, and Major Edwin Armstrong, developer of FM radio;
WHEREAS Columbia University has long recognized that veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces play an integral part in the student life, academic endeavors and intellectual accomplishments of the University;
WHEREAS since World War II, Columbia University and many of its constituent colleges have proudly served veterans who have deferred or interrupted their undergraduate educations to serve their country;
WHEREAS the Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2008 initiated the Yellow Ribbon Program, by which the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs provides matching funds for tuition waivers or grants offered by educational institutions to eligible student veterans. This program supplements the base educational benefits provided under the Post-9/11 G.I Bill;
WHEREAS no fewer than 17 Columbia University schools and programs currently offer matching Yellow Ribbon funds to defray the fiscal burden upon veterans;
WHEREAS the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Sciences is alone among the Columbia University community in offering no Yellow Ribbon matching funds to deserving undergraduate veterans returning from military service.
WHEREAS under the “3-2” combined degree programs offered jointly with the Columbia University School of General Studies (GS) and with Columbia College (CC), Yellow Ribbon eligible applicants may receive remunerative benefits for their first 3 undergraduate years at Columbia from GS or CC, but returning veterans receive no matching funds from the Fu Foundation for their final two years at SEAS.
WHEREAS Columbia President Lee Bollinger has recognized Columbia’s campus as a “place for intellectual discovery…and a forum for enhancing the relationship between the military and civil society” and noted Columbia’s “proud welcome to hundreds of talented veterans.”
WHEREAS this two tiered system deters deserving veterans from applying to the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, and from joining the Columbia University academic community;
WHEREAS this two-tiered system places a grave and unwarranted financial burden on returning veterans, contrary to the well-spoken views of President Bollinger, and the best interests of Columbia University as a whole; and
WHEREAS the CCSC joins with the remainder of our Columbia University academic community in seeking to secure equal financial opportunities to our returning veterans across all degree and certificate programs here at Columbia.
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that Columbia College Student Council calls upon the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Sciences to extend Yellow Ribbon benefits to undergraduate veterans, including participants in the 3-2 combined degree programs offered jointly with the School of General Studies and with Columbia College.