BLACKSBURG, Va. --
On June 22, 1944, in the wake of World War II, then-President Franklin Roosevelt signed into law the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act, more commonly known as the G.I. Bill. This allowed WWII veterans the opportunity to attend college for free, as well as granted them one year of unemployment compensation.
“After the war, they went to college, received an education and went on to run this country,” said Maj. Gen. Carl Jensen, commanding general for Marine Corps Installations – East.
Jensen said this to Charles Steger, president of the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, Va., during a visit there in support of the Leadership Scholar Program, an initiative designed to help veteran Marines and sailors gain easier access into college, May 2.
Jensen and David Schock, regional school liaison with MCIEAST, visited three Virginia colleges during Jensen’s signing of memorandums of understanding with each of the colleges’ principals, those of Longwood University in Farmville, James Madison University in Harrisonburg and Virginia Tech.
“We would love to get more Marine veterans here,” said Patrick Finnegan, president of Longwood University. “We stress leadership on our campus, and we’re sure that the Marines will step up after the influence their service had on them.”
Since its beginning last October for MCIEAST, the LSP has allowed applicants an ease of access into multiple North and South Carolina colleges, now reaching out to other states’ institutions.
“It gives the Marine applicants an accelerated means of being accepted into their schools,” said Schock. “They won’t have to worry about competing with other students to be accepted or not.”
Active-duty Marines and sailors interested in utilizing the LSP need to provide an application package to the Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune Life Long Learning Education Center with certified copies of their SMART transcripts, pages 3, 11 and 12 of their service record book, ROS, BIR, BTR, Awards Page, and Education Record, letters of recommendation, SAT/ACT scores and transcripts and a 250-word essay outlining the reason for their admittance to college and their educational goals.
Those interested in the program but already in possession of a bachelor’s degree or pursuing a graduate degree are not able to enroll. Each college dictates the number of applicants allowed to enroll, so service members are encouraged to check on the prospective college’s website for the limit.
“The Marine Corps prides itself on taking young men and women and making them better people overall,” said Jensen. “And for their service to our country, what better opportunity to provide them with than to give them back to the public sector with a good education.”
When paid for by the Montgomery G.I. bill or the Post/911 G.I. bill, those interested in participating in the LSP are encouraged to try. While each college has their enrollee limit, a possibly free college education made easier by the program should appeal to the service member in search of a college education.
“While this program started for North Carolina colleges, we obviously have a lot of Marines and sailors come from outside the state who want to enroll in their own college,” said Jensen. “That’s why we are branching out to other states’ colleges, and hopefully get this going all over the nation.”
For more information about enrolling with the LSP, contact the Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune Life Long Learning Education Center at 449-9748, or visit the program website at eadershipscholarprogram.com.