Cleveland State kicks off program exclusively for vets

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Last summer, we introduced you to Cleveland State’s wild plan to help returning veterans get a college education. For returning soldiers accustomed to a homecoming full of frustration -- waiting months for an appointment at the VA hospital, or years for a disability claim to be denied -- this was a novel idea. The college was going to help them take advantage of their GI Bill benefits with a program designed exclusively for them. In exchange, CSU was hoping for a guaranteed source of tuition and donations from grateful grads… Special classes would address subjects relevant to veterans’ lives — such as Middle Eastern history or biological warfare. More important, they would take the classes together as a unit, in the hopes that camaraderie would discourage them from dropping out. This month, the classes finally began (another foreign concept in most vets’ lives: follow through). Program director John Schupp says 14 men are enrolled, most of them recently returned from Iraq, Afghanistan or Kosovo. They’re taking four classes together: math, history of the Middle East, chemistry, and biology. Schupp is also bringing speakers in to talk to them about GI benefits and job opportunities. High school may not have been their favorite time in life, he says, but the impact of their military training should not be discounted. “You go through boot camp, you can handle college,” Schupp says. -- Lisa Rab

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