Six Eastern Kentucky University student veterans received the Edith Nourse Rogers Science Technology Engineering Math (STEM) Scholarship from the Department of Veterans Affairs, helping to financially support their education. All STEM scholarships were given over the past year.
The STEM scholarship is a provision of the Forever GI Bill, that provides financial assistance to student veterans and military dependents in high-demand STEM fields. The scholarship supplies $30,000 of added benefits over nine months.
Congressman Andy Barr introduced H.R. 2196 in April 2019, as his first bill as a member of the House Veteran’s Affairs Committee. The resolution passed the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate in June 2019, later signed by President Donald Trump in July 2019. The resolution reduced the STEM scholarship credit requirement of 128 plus hours to a minimum of 120 hours, making it more accessible to students nationally.
Congressman Barr chose EKU as the press conference location to announce the signing of the legislation into law.
“The impact of this scholarship on our individual veteran students and their families is immeasurable,” said Barbara Kent, director of the EKU Office of Military and Veterans Affairs. “They are able to achieve their educational goals to go on and serve other veterans as well as their communities.”
To be eligible for the STEM scholarship, a student must be enrolled in an undergraduate STEM degree program that requires at least 120 semester credit hours to complete. Students must have already completed 60 credit hours and have six months or less of the Post-9/11 GI Bill or Fry Scholarship benefits left. The scholarship is not available to be used on graduate degrees.
The STEM scholarship has priority in assisting student veterans and Fry Scholars who are eligible for the maximum Post-9/11 GI Bill benefit. Military dependents can also apply. There is not a limit on the number of recipients who can benefit from the scholarship.
“The STEM scholarship has allowed me to continue to attend EKU and complete my degree when I otherwise would not have had the money to finish,” said Jason Bobrick, United States Navy veteran and a senior emergency medical care major from Chicago.
The STEM scholarship requires student veterans to apply within the last 180 days of the end of their GI Bill benefits. Veteran students interested in the STEM scholarship can contact Debra Bush in Powell Student Center Room 137 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
“I applied online, it took me all of five minutes,” said Bobrick. “Without this scholarship, I’m not sure I would have been able to continue towards my goals.”
EKU’s Office of Military and Veterans Affairs has an entire staff devoted to assisting student veterans and military dependents in their academic journey. The office is veteran-friendly and has a long history of providing quality help to veterans, active duty service members, reserve/guard, military dependents and military families.
“The entire staff is just top-notch. Being from Chicago I didn’t know a soul in Kentucky let alone Richmond and these folks made me feel right at home,” said Bobrick. “They are great people who genuinely care about the vets that go here.”
EKU’s Office of Military and Veterans Affairs is ranked in the top 10 percent nationally and number one in Kentucky as veteran-friendly.
“If any veterans have not gone to the new veteran’s lounge at Powell to at least introduce themselves and hang out with the other veteran students, they should immediately,” said Bobrick.
For more information about the STEM scholarship visit https://www.va.gov/education/other-va-education-benefits/stem-scholarship/. For more information about the EKU Office of Military and Veterans Affairs visit https://va.eku.edu/ or their office in Powell Student Center Room 137.