Local News

Oct 30, 2013 1:00 PM by Rachel Cole - rcole@kristv.com

Military Members Enrolling in College Now More than Ever

CORPUS CHRISTI - More and more troops are taking to the classrooms as wars wind down. Plus, service members are being pulled from battles overseas, to return home. Now, Texas A&M - Corpus Christi has more veteran students than ever before.

On campus, students will find a giant statue of the late Hector P. Garcia, civil rights advocate and World War II veteran. A man that stands for freedom and education and is an example to the hundreds of students who came from the service.

"That 1,009 which is the highest the university has ever experienced is compromised of ROTC, active duty, veterans and veteran dependents," Michael Rendon said.

Michael Rendon is the Director of Veterans Affairs and the registration office. He says half of those students are children of soldiers who fought in Desert Storm. Rendon says many of them are using the "Hazelwood Act" to attend classes. That act is, Texas' version of the G.I. Bill, that allows veterans and/or their dependents access to free college courses.

"120 credit hours which basically covers a whole degree," Rendon added.

He says the university is proud to offer this to military members and as a campus wants education to be available to our men and women in uniform. Plus, for the past 5 years the university has been recognized as a military friendly school for their efforts helping service men and women transfer from war to reality.

Meanwhile, Brandon Langford a "senior" on campus served our country for 20 years and is thankful for the chance at a college degree. He works on campus and is planning to receive a bachelor's degree in kinesiology soon.

"I think it's awesome because not only are we actually given the opportunity to go to school and get help out, financially, but we also have a lot of resources," Langford said.

University officials say their goal is to take soldiers from boots to books. In doing so, they give them preference whenever possible. For example, veterans and their dependents are allowed to register for courses early and are not penalized if 'Uncle Sam' calls them back to duty for redeployment.

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