Christendom College offers scholarships to students affiliated with the army | National Catholic Register

FRONT ROYAL, Va. — A Virginia-based Catholic liberal arts college is offering 100% scholarships to eligible students from military families, responding to recent legislation that bars students from nongovernment-funded institutions to benefit from these advantages.

Attending Christendom “helps me articulate some of the situations and experiences that I had in the Marine Corps,” said Philip McShurley, who had taken four years between his freshman and sophomore year to serve in the forces. armies. “It’s also a great way to reflect, and it really deepened my faith.”

McShurley, a recipient of the new scholarship program, left Christianity after the first year because he felt “restless” and “was looking for something to really challenge me”.

Although he had his choice of colleges, thanks to the GI Bill, McShurley realized that after leaving the Corps he wanted to return to Christianity, which would not have been an option without the program. scholarships.

“I felt like I had met my moral and spiritual challenge in the Marine Corps, and I was ready to grow after that,” McShurley said.

“Nowadays it’s great to see a college stand firmly behind the troops and have a stake in giving them real wisdom,” said Adam Rockwell, another recipient of the new scholarship program offered by Christendom College, a Catholic college. . liberal arts institution in Front Royal, Virginia.

“Giving this opportunity to these students is creating a diverse environment in Christianity, inviting people from all walks of life to come and learn the teachings of Christ.”

Rockwell, whose family served in the military in World War II in Vietnam, told the Register that he considers it an “honor” to have served the United States in the U.S. Army Reserve as a as a motor transport operator in the Transport Corps before his time. to Christianity. “These brave men fought [through] some of America’s greatest wars, leaving a legacy and inspiring stories that have been passed down my family line,” he said.

Christendom College began offering the new scholarship after new government regulations, released in the summer of 2021, limited benefits for military-affiliated students attending educational institutions that do not receive government funding. under Title IV.

As a result, “new government regulations were issued in the summer of 2021 requiring any school that accepts GI Bill funds to meet the requirements and participate in federal student aid programs under Title IV,” according to a released statement. on the college website. “As a result, GI Bill funds are now likely to entail the same bureaucracy, government scrutiny, and entanglement as other federal funding.”

Prior to the 2021–22 academic year, students could receive military benefits while attending Christendom through GI Bill funds, as an individual veteran’s benefit, even if the college rejects government funding.

“Members of the military services and their children have been deeply connected to the college since day one, and we have benefited greatly from their influence and commitment to our faith and our beloved country,” said Mark Rohlena, vice president. executive of Christendom College. The 2021 legislation has caused “tension” between the college’s commitment not to accept federal funding and its “commitment to our veterans,” Rohlena told the Register. “Christendom College has consistently rejected federal funding since the day we opened as an important way to preserve our independence and the type of education we offer,” Rohlena explained. “We couldn’t risk abandoning a core college principle that requires us to reject federal funds every year at the real risk that we’d be forced out of our mission, but we also knew our veterans and their families couldn’t. be left behind. the cold,” he says. “We are in the process of actively opting out of the system and have filed the necessary forms to do so,” said Zachary Smith, associate director of marketing and communications for Christendom.

Although the college is still listed on GI Bill websites, Smith explained that they have “stopped processing GI Bill fund applications or documents, so no GI Bill funds for Christianity have been processed in the last year”.

Between Christendom’s undergraduate and graduate programs, a dozen students “benefited from the scholarship” in the 2021-2022 academic year, Rohlena said. “This includes active duty military personnel, reservists, veterans and children of veterans,” he said. When it became clear that government regulations would limit the benefits military-affiliated students could receive, the college turned to benefactors for help, the college’s vice president for education said. advancement, Paul Jalsevac. “The response was swift and overwhelming,” Jalsevac said in an interview with the Register.

“Our supporters love their country and the military who serve it and have made it clear that they both support our desire to remain free of federal funding and want to provide for our military families.”

The goal of the new scholarship is to “mirror” the benefits the GI Bill had to offer, Rohlena said. “Our goal is basically to mirror the GI Bill in terms of who can benefit from the scholarship.”

With the new scholarship program, Rohlena said, “veterans and family members who are still eligible to use the GI Bill would be eligible for our program.” Recognizing the “incredible sacrifices” military families have made “to protect our freedoms,” Rohlena said, “Veterinarian families bring us extremely dedicated students who do very well in our liberal arts program, and they continue to do amazing things in the world. .”

Rohlena added that students with ties to the military “often come to us with a keen awareness from their service of what can happen to a society when it abandons truth and surrenders its freedoms to hostile ideologies that do not hold no account of human life and liberty”.

“Our mission is to restore all things in Christ,” Jalsevac said. “As part of this mission, Christianity is educating leaders who will impact our Church and nation in so many different ways, including our military, so ensuring our military has access to a Christian education is one way important to have an impact on our culture. ”

McShurley recounted how a particular ethics class the previous academic year discussed how actions and habits affect the way one sees the world. Essentially, he says, “you are responsible for how you view the world, and you are responsible for how you view things and people.” He recalls encouraging one of his fellow Marines to take a break from viewing pornography and how the Marine had come to recognize the benefits of such a fast; as the Church teaches in the Catechism, pornography “offends chastity because it perverts the marital act, the intimate gift of spouses to each other. It seriously undermines the dignity of its participants (actors, vendors, audience), since each becomes an object of base pleasure and illicit profit for others. It immerses all involved in the illusion of a fantasy world. It is a serious offence” (2354). “It all really touches me in a very experiential way,” McShurley said of what her classes emphasize.

As for Rockwell, Christianity helped him “learn to have a deeper trust in Christ during difficult times and training,” he said. “Being at Christianity allowed me to share this unique experience with my classmates.”

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