Supporting Veterans through the Yellow Ribbon program

May. 6, 2010 By Jenna Bartlo

Terry Ulrich was a strong role model for his sons working hard in the military to provide for his family and give his wife the opportunity to stay at home and teach their five boys. Of those five, two are currently Biola University students. For senior Kevin and sophomore Brian Ulrich, their education at Biola would not be possible without the Veteran Affairs (VA) benefits they receive. 

When Kevin decided to attend Biola’s Cinema and Media Arts program, his parents knew finances would be tight, considering he had three younger brothers following him to college, however, they wanted to give him the opportunity to pursue his dreams of becoming a filmmaker. Last year, Kevin’s younger brother Brian joined him at Biola, also a film major.

“This made the strain on our finances all the tighter,” said Kevin. “My dad was afraid that we might not be able to continue attending Biola….in the nick of time, the G.I. Bill came through, enabling my brother and I to stay at the school we had grown to love and continue in the pursuit of our dreams.”

With Biola becoming a Yellow Ribbon school this year and new G.I. benefits kicking in, more scholarship opportunities are opening for veterans and their family members. The Ulrich family is one family that will benefit from the new scholarship as their third son plans to attend Biola.

“We are very hopeful for the Yellow Ribbon program, so that he can continue our legacy at Biola’s film department,” said Kevin. “Through working together, I believe my brothers and I will have a strong and long-lasting professional relationship, and this bond would possibly never have been forged so strongly had it not been for the VA benefits.” 

The Yellow Ribbon program is a provision of the Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2008, which pays up to the highest public in-state undergraduate tuition and fees. Biola is one of 45 members and affiliate institutions in the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities who have signed “Yellow Ribbon” participation agreements with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, which provide financial aid and services to returning veterans and their families wanting to continue their education.

For incoming student and veteran Mark Kilsgaard, the Yellow Ribbon Program will help him focus on his education.

“I decided to attend Biola because I really wanted a good Biblical background on top of the degree I’m pursuing,” said Kilsgaard. “The Yellow Ribbon Program will greatly benefit me, because it allows me more time to focus on my studies rather then trying to work full time and be a full time student at the same time.”
At Biola, eligible students will receive $5,000 per academic year and all subsequent academic years in which Biola is participating in the Yellow Ribbon Program and the student maintains satisfactory progress, conduct and continuous enrollment. Biola  will make a contribution of $1,250 per semester on behalf of the individual in the form of a “Yellow Ribbon Matching Scholarship” and the VA will match that contribution.

“This is another way we can show our student veterans and veteran families our appreciation for their service to our country,” said Cyndi Cole, Biola’s VA Benefits Counselor. “We want them to be able to maximize on their VA education benefits to help narrow the financial gap of college tuition.”

Veterans and veteran family members who are eligible under the Post-9/11 G.I. bill at the 100 percent benefit rate can apply for the Yellow Ribbon Matching Scholarship today for the next academic year.

The program is for traditional undergraduate students only and application to the program is on a first-come, first-served basis with limited scholarships available. 

Written by Jenna Bartlo, Media Relations Coordinator. Jenna can be reached at (562) 777-4061 or through email at jenna.l.bartlo@biola.edu.

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