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JSU signs agreement with Mississippi National Guard to begin Tiger Free Tuition Program

JSU President William B. Bynum Jr. joins Maj. Gen. Janson D. Boyles in signing a Memorandum of Understanding with the Mississippi National Guard to offer the Tiger Free Tuition Program. (Photo by Charles A. Smith/JSU)

JSU President William B. Bynum Jr. joins Maj. Gen. Janson D. Boyles in signing a Memorandum of Understanding with the Mississippi National Guard to offer the Tiger Free Tuition Program. (Photo by Charles A. Smith/JSU)

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Eligible Mississippi Army and Air National Guard members attending Jackson State University full time soon can earn free tuition under an agreement between JSU and the Mississippi National Guard.

Bynum and Boyles seal the deal with a handshake and agree that quality education will improve the readiness and leadership of the men and women serving in the Mississippi National Guard. (Photo by Charles A. Smith/JSU)

Bynum and Boyles seal the deal with a handshake and agree that quality education will improve the readiness and leadership of the men and women serving in the Mississippi National Guard. (Photo by Charles A. Smith/JSU)

JSU President William B. Bynum Jr. and Maj. Gen. Janson D. Boyles signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Tuesday, April 16, in the rotunda of the College of Business to establish the Tiger Free Tuition Program (FTP). The program aims to increase ranks and promotions in the National Guard, produce higher retention rates throughout the force and bolster the National Guard student population at JSU.

Before introducing key players in the agreement, JSU’s associate vice president of Enrollment Management Warren B. Johnson hailed the signing as an opportunity to support military personnel.

“These individuals are charged with the protection and security of our state and also have to be ready to be called upon, if needed, to mobilize into federal service.” He noted Mississippi National Guard’s historic, distinguished and overwhelming contributions to Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm, Persian Gulf Crisis, Saudi Arabia, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and others.

JSU’s associate vice president of Enrollment Management Warren B. Johnson commended Mississippi National Guard for its distinguished contributions in various campaigns. Among those include Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm, Persian Gulf Crisis, Saudi Arabia and Operation Iraqi Freedom. (Photo by Charles A. Smith/JSU)

JSU’s associate vice president of Enrollment Management Warren B. Johnson commended Mississippi National Guard for its distinguished contributions in various campaigns. Among those include Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm, Persian Gulf Crisis, Saudi Arabia and Operation Iraqi Freedom. (Photo by Charles A. Smith/JSU)

Meanwhile, Bynum described the pact as an opportunity to enhance the leadership of troops through academics. He said he’s “extremely proud” of JSU’s military-friendly status and for being the home of the Army ROTC and Air Force ROTC programs.

“There are a number of things that are very special about the men and women who serve and give of themselves and their lives to this country,” said Bynum, emphasizing that a record 18 JSU cadets will commission as second lieutenant during a commissioning ceremony this spring.

As for the MOU, Boyles concurred with Bynum and referred to it as a pivotal moment because “having young men and women go to college and get an education improves our readiness and adds to the leadership.”

Furthermore, he said he envisions the arrangement helping the National Guard’s recruitment efforts by offering free tuition to young men and women to attend JSU. He also said the men and women of the National Guard “will bring the lessons that they learn while wearing the uniform to the student population and will help enhance the university.”

les greets prospective JSU student Bridget Jones, 22, from Utica. She plans to be among the first to take advantage of the Tiger Free Tuition Program. Jones said she heard about program on Facebook and immediately contacted JSU’s Veterans and Military Center, which invited her to the signing to learn more information. (Photo by Charles A. Smith/JSU)

Boyles greets prospective JSU student Bridget Jones, 22, from Utica. She plans to be among the first to take advantage of the Tiger Free Tuition Program. Jones said she heard about program on Facebook and immediately contacted JSU’s Veterans and Military Center, which invited her to the signing to learn more information. (Photo by Charles A. Smith/JSU)

The Mississippi National Guard has more than 12,000 Army and Air National Guard members in its ranks and actively seeks opportunities to improve men’s and women’s abilities to solve complex problems at home and abroad.

One of those who aims to join the ranks is Bridget Jones, 22, from Utica. She plans to be among the first to take advantage of the Tiger Free Tuition Program. After recently earning her associate’s degree from Hinds Community College, she has applied to JSU and expects to start this summer and enroll in the Army ROTC program.

Jones, who plans to study biology, said she heard about the free-tuition program on Facebook and immediately contacted JSU’s Veterans and Military Center, which invited her to the signing to get more information.

“This agreement is a great opportunity to avoid student loans and allows me to focus on becoming a medical officer,” Jones said.

Among the qualifications required by service members to participate in JSU’s Tiger Free Tuition Program:

  • Must be enrolled currently as full-time undergraduates
  • Must maintain at least a 2.0 GPA
  • Must not be within a year of expiration of term of service or mandatory removal date
  • Must complete FAFSA and state aid applications in a timely manner

For consecutive years, JSU has ranked among the top Military Friendly Schools by Viqtory and is featured in G.I. Jobs magazine for providing enhanced support services for student veterans, service members and their dependents.