<table style="width: 1px; height: 2px;" border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0"> <tbody><tr> <td width="60%"> </td> </tr> <tr> <td rowspan="3" valign="top"> </td> <td valign="top" width="4%"> </td></tr> </tbody></table> <hr> Expanded GI bill makes Ohio attractive for students in Ohio J. Breen Mitchell, News Editor Issue date: 7/16/08 Section: News Print Email Page 1 of 1 Governor Ted Strickland signed legislation July 9 which will allow military veterans from anywhere in the country attend college in Ohio at in-state tuition rates. Those rates are a discount from the rate for out-of-state students. The executive order, called the Ohio GI Promise, makes Ohio the first state to offer this to veterans. "The GI bill allows me to focus on my studies and not worry too much about money," said Youngstown State University senior Erin Laughlin. Laughlin has served in the Army National Guard for over four years in both Ohio and Pennsylvania. She said she receives a stipend of approximately $665 per month to cover expenses during the school year. In addition to her military service, Laughlin is also a member of the ROTC at YSU. She said that she transferred from the National Guard in Pennsylvania to Ohio because of the Ohio National Guard Scholarship, which pays 100 percent of the tuition for any Ohio Guardsman. Laughlin said there are different options available for Ohio military personnel. Her benefits required her to agree to enlist for six years and to complete initial training. She said that those who agree to go on doing as well as you can." "We want to tell the Army story as much as possible," said Stull. Eight full-tuition scholarships will be available through the U.S. Army Cadet Command this fall for cadets pledging to 4 to 6 years of active duty. They also agree to 2 to 4 years of active ready reserve military service upon graduation. Additional scholarships ranging from $500 to $1,000 are available to students who demonstrate military excellence. The Command pays for the scholarships for YSU cadets and also provides a $300 to $500 stipend per academic year for living expenses and a $1,500 book allowance. Beginning in the fall, the YSU Foundation will offer room and board to recipients of the full-tuition award. "Recruiting numbers [for the Army] aren't down; however, the need for officers has nearly doubled," Stull said. The increased need for officers is the reason the ROTC has been restored to battalion status. Although the approval is still pending one more level of the United States Army, a final decision is to be reached this fall. YSU's ROTC was established in the 1950s as one of several national programs preparing officers for service during the Korean War. The program continued through 1990 until the post-Cold War era caused the program to close and YSU to partner with the University of Akron and later Kent State University. Since 1950, YSU ROTC has commissioned 1026 officers.