For years, officials from William Carey University have committed to offering tuition assistance to members of the Mississippi National Guard, active military, and their dependents who wish to further their education at the university.
That commitment was reaffirmed Sept. 30 during a formal signing at Bass Chapel on the WCU campus, when it was announced that those serving in the military – and their dependents – will be eligible to receive a reduced tuition rate of $250 per credit hour for qualifying undergraduate programs and graduate programs, in both traditional and online formats. The agreement was signed by WCU president Tommy King and Maj. Gen. Janson Boyles, who serves as Adjutant General of Mississippi.
“We’re a very minimal institution,” King said. “If you need a degree in something, if you’ll come to see us, we will develop that degree to help you get what you need.”
Boyles said while WCU has many different curriculums to excel in, the university’s education, music and health sciences are particularly important to the National Guard.
“My recruiters also mentioned this morning that (the) chaplaincy programs here are going to be a great benefit to us,” he said. “Partnering with the Mississippi National Guard, providing some tuition assistance for us, to encourage our soldiers – and also our families, who can participate in this – is very important to us.
“We often talk about the resiliency of the soldier, and this is part of our resiliency program. If we can help our soldiers get a better education, it makes them a better soldier. And helping our families become better educated supports our soldiers, and makes them better soldiers in our formation also.”
To take advantage of the scholarship discount officer, the Mississippi National Guard will bring to the campus young men and women who are self-disciplined and motivated to get a better education in order to contribute to society. Boyles said that’s particularly relevant, given the important role education plays in the military.
“If you think about the tactical stuff that we do every day, we really encourage our soldiers to get educated,” he said. “At every level of promotion, they have to have an education – today, majors are required to have a master’s degree to get promoted to the next level.
“So when a university like William Carey can step up and offer tuition assistance, so that these soldiers can improve their lifelong ambition of being promoted and being a contributor, it’s just so much better. What’s valuable to us is that at an institution like William Carey, they offer certain disciplines that are very valuable for our formation.”
Boyles said when universities invest in soldiers, they’re investing in Mississippi, rather than just a soldier who will be gone 20 years before coming back.
“That investment remains here in Mississippi,” he said. “What we want to do is invest in that soldier and keep that soldier in Mississippi, so that they stay in Mississippi and they’re productive citizens.
“And we want them to remain in the Guard for 20 or 20-plus years and just be community-based.”