University of Memphis Unveils Free Tuition for Gold Star Families
"The hope is that other universities will follow."
At the University of Memphis, the families of fallen Tennessee service members who receive Folds of Honor scholarships will never have to worry about paying for tuition again.
The U of M is now accepting the Folds of Honor scholarship (a vital $5,000/year national scholarship available to children and spouses of service members who were severely injured or killed while on active duty) as payment in full for tuition. According to the Commercial Appeal, it will be the first higher education institution in the country to do so.
"We would not exist as a country without the service and sacrifice of so many who defend our freedom," university President M. David Rudd, who is also a veteran, said in a release. "The families are serving as well, and the loss of a parent or spouse presents a huge hardship, emotionally and financially. The University of Memphis is committed to cover any gap that exists and to relieve these families of that burden."
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Average university tuition is about $9,700 a year, plus room and board, fees and textbooks. The U of M will also help students who qualify for other scholarships obtain that money as well.
"The hope is that other universities will follow, helping the University of Memphis establish a national consortium committed to recognizing the remarkable contributions and sacrifices of our men and women in uniform," Rudd continued.
He said the new policy would become official in the "coming weeks."
Alyssa Hill, whose father was killed in Iraq in 2005, recently graduated from the University of Memphis. A recipient of the old scholarship, Hill told the Commercial Appeal that this new initiative would be a huge help to families going forward. "It will try to take some of that burden off and try to pay back some of that sacrifice," she said.