The Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs and the University of Wisconsin System today renewed their longstanding commitment to state programs that provide Wisconsin’s veterans with valuable opportunities to earn a college degree.

In 2005, the Legislature passed and the Governor signed into law the Wisconsin G.I. Bill, which provided partial tuition remission for Wisconsin veterans and the dependents of Wisconsin veterans who die or are significantly disabled as the result of their military service.  The program was later expanded to provide a full remission of all tuition and fees at any UW System campus or state technical college.

“The creation of the original G.I. Bill for our nation’s WWII veterans positively transformed the country economically and socially, and the Wisconsin G.I. Bill tuition remission is an educational investment that will lead to Wisconsin’s economic development in much the same way,” said Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary John A. Scocos.

“These are challenging times for our state and our nation. Nobody knows that better than the women and men returning from military service,” said UW System President Kevin P. Reilly. “We are honored to welcome veterans to our campuses in record numbers. In fact, the number of Wisconsin GI Bill participants totals about 3,200 – more than the total enrollment at our smallest four-year campus. Our faculty and staff are working hard to provide veterans with a first-class education, as well as the support they need to make a smooth transition to civilian life.”

During the 2007-08 academic year, veterans and dependents received tuition remissions worth more than $17 million at UW System campuses. Scocos, Reilly and their respective organizations continue to work together with the agencies involved, the Governor, and the Legislature on strategies to fully fund the fast-growing benefit program in a manner that reflects how all state residents benefit from the service of military veterans.

“This exceptional interagency partnership between the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs, the UW System and the Wisconsin Technical Colleges is a tribute with actions far more tangible than just words of appreciation,” said Scocos.

“Enrolling more Wisconsinites in college is a strategic way to position our state for economic success.  Offering veterans the chance to earn a college degree is a meaningful way to honor their sacrifice. So, the Wisconsin GI Bill is a ‘win-win’ partnership that will always have our full support,” said Reilly.