Leading up to Veterans Day on Nov. 11, the registrar’s office showed their appreciation to veterans by offering a come-and-go time of fellowship and refreshments, Nov. 8-9. In addition to refreshments, workers decorated the office with a wall of honor containing the names of veteran’s who receive tuition assistance through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
“The registrar’s office certifies approximately 75 veterans each semester in the acquisition of educational benefits accrued while serving in the United States Armed Forces,” Registrar Mark Leeds said.
“We consider it a privilege to serve those who have so sacrificially defended the religious freedom that makes a school like Southwestern possible.”
As veterans stopped by the office, many expressed appreciation for this simple gesture. They also realize how much hard work the registrar’s office puts into coordinating benefits between the VA and the seminary.
“I think it speaks volumes about the registrar’s genuine concern for the people they serve on a daily basis,” said Master of Divinity student and veteran Brian Bagley. “As a Christian, I know that God called me to serve Him for a period of time as a member of the US Armed Forces, and I would gladly do it again. However, it is humbling to know that others appreciate the efforts and sacrifices of our military members and their families.
“They are very knowledgeable about the VA application process and the necessary requirements to adjust benefits along the way. They are also familiar with the latest changes in regulations governing VA benefits, which is helpful when it comes to planning financial resources each semester. I have associates getting masters degrees at other state universities, and they don’t enjoy the level of support that veterans receive at Southwestern.”
A little more than a year ago, Bagley was working as an oil field project manager when he felt the Lord calling him to attend seminary full time. As he and his wife prayed and trusted God to provide, a friend told him about new laws related to VA educational benefits. His application was approved, and he now receives financial assistance with tuition, books and housing.
“If these benefits had not been available,” Bagley said, “I am confident that God would have provided the financial means in some other way. However, if you are a veteran, it is definitely worth exploring the option of using VA benefits.”