Christopher Perreault describes the serious injuries he suffered from a suicide bomb attack during his second tour of duty in Afghanistan as “one of the worst things I have ever experienced.” Despite his wounds, Perreault continues to serve as an active duty solider and discovered, though his injuries, a new perspective on life.
Perreault, a 2013 Colorado Technical University (CTU) Wounded Warrior scholarship recipient, has a vision to dispel the negative perception people may have toward veterans and wounded warriors. He wants others to recognize that veterans and wounded warriors “are still very capable and should not be thought of as helpless, even after all they have been through.”
Perreault is one example of the 300 wounded warrior scholarship recipients to receive financial assistance to pursue a degree while recovering from injuries sustained during active duty. CTU, consistently rated as a top military friendly school, started the Wounded Warrior Scholarship program in partnership with the Yellow Ribbon Fund, Inc. in 2008, and has since provided nearly $5 million in scholarships as of 2012 to active military, veterans and their spouses.
“CTU history is steeped with military influence,” says Dr. Richard Haberberger, CTU Wounded Warrior selection board committee member. “The Wounded Warrior Scholarship program is just one more way CTU serves those who serve us. These scholarships present an opportunity for the recipients to improve their lives and that of their families by helping them become more competitive in the job market, as well as immersing them in an educational pursuit that redirects their focus away from their wounds.”
Each spring, CTU accepts scholarship applications. Applicants must submit an essay and follow the criteria laid out in the application. The CTU Wounded Warrior Selection Board, comprised of academic and military representatives, meets in October to select 25 wounded service members or wounded veterans and 25 spouses of wounded warriors. The Selection Board looks for applicants who demonstrate a strong desire to advance their education and to apply their degree to career advancement opportunities once they graduate. The Selection Board also carefully considers how applicants describe the future impact they expect to have in their families, in their communities and in their life overall. Scholarship recipients are notified in November and receive a full scholarship to any eligible CTU degree program, textbooks and a new laptop computer.
CTU Wounded Warrior Scholarship recipients have the unique opportunity to complete their degree in a 100% online environment, letting them access classrooms from anywhere in the world. Regarded as a top online university*, CTU gives wounded warriors the flexibility to continue their education while recovering from their injuries, and also makes it possible for them to continue in active duty or to pursue post-military career goals. Spouses of wounded warriors, like Ashley Toppin also benefit. “With a lot of hard work, dedication, and financial assistance from CTU, I was able to go back to school and achieve my goal,” explains Toppin, a recent CTU graduate.
Approximately one-third of CTU’s students are active military, veterans and family members. In addition to the Wounded Warrior Scholarship program, the university also participates in the Post-9/11 GI Bill and has been recognized as a Military Friendly School by G.I. Jobs Magazine. CTU is committed to honoring military service and giving active military, veterans and their families access to an education that paves the way for the next chapter in their lives.
*CEO Magazine, Oct. 2012, vol. 8, a publication of the International Graduate Forum.
PSCUs open doors to many of the 9.1 million unemployed and 90 million undereducated Americans by providing a skills-based education. To remain competitive over the next decade, we must identify between 8 and 23 million new workers with postsecondary skills. PSCUs are a necessary part of that solution, having produced over 800,000 degrees last year alone.
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