Starting in August, U.S. veterans and current servicemen won't have to pay to apply to the University of Maryland for the 2019-2020 academic year.
After the Coalition for Access, Affordability, and Success announced the initiative for an online application fee waiver in October, this university quickly agreed to offer it, said Annie Reznik, the coalition's executive director.
"When the veterans fee waiver arose, this was something we wanted to support as a noble cause, so we were certainly on board with it," said university spokeswoman Jessica Jennings.
The current application fee is $75. Qualifying applicants who indicate their statuses as "currently serving" or "previously served" in the U.S. Armed Forces will be able to automatically bypass the payment screen when submitting the Coalition Application.
The university began offering the Coalition Application — which allows students to apply to more than 130 colleges in the United States — this fall.
"You should be serving your students well in your state," Reznik said. "Part of joining [the coalition] enabled Maryland to provide students with more opportunities, not only to apply to other college alongside the University of Maryland but also to engage with the college application process sooner and get more access to its information."
This university is among 133 schools represented by the Coalition for Access, Affordability, and Success, which it joined in 2015. A group of public and private colleges and universities in the U.S. — including 11 of this university's fellow Big Ten institutions — all work toward improving the college application process for students who come from backgrounds that may be less prepared, such as low-income applicants, according to the coalition's website.
"Finding new ways to support veterans at the University of Maryland is one way we can give back to those who have served our country," said Marsha Guenzler-Stevens, chair of the Veterans Services Steering Committee and Stamp Student Union's director, in a news release. "We hope that by making the pathway to education more accessible and removing financial boundaries, veterans will continue to choose UMD as the best choice to further their education."
More than 1,200 student veterans are on this university's campus, according to the news release. Students, staff and faculty veterans can visit the Veteran Student Life office for information and resources to help them transition from military to civilian college life.
Aaron Anderson, Veteran Student Life's acting coordinator, is a veteran himself. He said he knows how daunting the application process can be for students, and the waiver is a great way to show gratitude to veterans.
"Veterans bring a lot of experience and different perspective wherever they go," Anderson said. "Not only does [the waiver] add something to the community here, but it gives them an opportunity."
Many student veterans and alumni responded to the announcement positively, added Anderson.
"Even the veterans who are currently here that won't be able to benefit from it," Anderson said, "they realize that the university is working for them in trying to be the most friendly for servicemen and veterans."