CWU News

CWU Provides Assistance to Military Veterans and Their Families

Nearly 500 active duty, reserve, or retired member of the United States military, or someone from their families, enrolled during the 2014-15 school year on Central Washington University’s Ellensburg campus, at one of the university locations statewide or through university online classes.

That number has been increasing by about 10 percent annually. It is expected to rise even more, and faster, as the state prepares for what is expected to be the largest military downsizing on record over the next several years.

CWU has a demonstrated commitment to serving the educational needs of military members and their families, which includes ensuring that the price of higher education is within their means.

“We commit hundreds of thousands of dollars to support veterans so that they can afford to attend Central,” says John Swiney, who recently retired from his post as associate vice president for Enrollment Management. He is now serving as the director of special projects, including university enrollment and retention efforts, for the office of the Vice President for Business and Financial Affairs.

During the current academic year, that total actually came to $650,000. It includes offering in-state cost of tuition to all veterans and family member, regardless of where they call home.

CWU actually began that institutional practice several years ago. It pre-dated federal legislation that approved such waivers through the Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act, more commonly known as the Choice Act.

“We recognize that non-resident veterans are in Washington by assignment of the U.S. government,” Swiney adds. “When they leave those assignments, we’d like to have them stay in Washington State. Everything we can do to recruit them to Central is beneficial to them and to us.”

That’s because enrollment of veterans, and their family members, are credited with helping expand university diversity.

“They bring incredible skills to the classroom and the professors appreciate their contributions,” Swiney notes. “They’ve had experiences that the typical student has not. We value their presence on campus.”

Overall, the university provides a myriad of financial assistance to veteran and their family members. This also includes full tuition waivers for a child, spouse or domestic partner of someone who died or was totally disabled as a result of their military service, is a prisoner of war or listed as missing in action.

Media contact: Robert Lowery, director of Content Development, 509-963-1487,

July 6, 2015