Sacred Heart - VA Partnership Means Veterans Can Attend Free of Charge

Adam JacksonAdam Jackson spent four years as a U.S. Marine defending people’s lives. With the help of Sacred Heart, he will soon be studying to be an attorney to defend people’s legal rights, as well.

A full-time day job at Sikorsky Aircraft as a Black Hawk assembler means the 26-year-old can only attend classes nights and weekends. But thanks to the accelerated courses, online class options and flexible scheduling that Sacred Heart’s University College provides, Jackson has been able to complete more than half the undergraduate coursework he needs to double major in Political Science and Philosophy in just one year.

That Sacred Heart recognized and accepted all the associate’s degree credits he earned from Housatonic Community College, as well as those from the math, writing and finance classes he took at the Marine Corps Institute, also attracted Jackson to the school.

“Once I decided to complete my undergraduate degrees and decided that law school was an eventual goal, I have been working constantly to achieve them,” said Jackson, who entered the Marines a month after he graduated from Trumbull High School in June 2004. “Maybe it’s because of my military experience, where every day I was going at 150 mph and paying attention to every detail, but once I knew I was serious about school, I wanted to do it fast and thoroughly – something Sacred Heart provides."

As a participant in the federal Yellow Ribbon education program for veterans, Sacred Heart also provides Jackson with the opportunity to take classes cost-free.

Part of the Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2008 that allows U.S. veterans to attend public colleges and universities in their home state free of charge, the Yellow Ribbon program is voluntary for private schools. Those like Sacred Heart that participate agree to fund part of the portion of veterans' tuition that exceeds the highest public in-state college rate. 

The agreement between Sacred Heart and the U.S. Veterans Administration is that each will pay 50 percent of any excess tuition fees, leaving the veteran responsible for books and miscellaneous expenses only.

“As a husband and father, this part of the Sacred Heart experience has just been wonderful,″ added Jackson, who served two tours in Fallujah, Iraq, during his four years with the Marines. "But even without the financial help, I knew it was a great school. My wife is a Sacred Heart alum, I have friends who took classes here, and the school’s reputation is excellent.

“Academically, Sacred Heart provides a challenging and stimulating environment that has allowed me to learn a lot.”

At Jackson’s current pace of taking three classes during the fall and spring semesters, along with as many accelerated ones as he can fit in during winter and summer intersessions, he’s on track to graduate in May 2014.

He’s not yet sure where he’d like to go for law school, but he has his eye on a few schools in Connecticut and New York. “We’ll see when it gets closer.” Jackson said, “Right now, my focus is on my studies at Sacred Heart and the goals that completing my degrees there are going to help me achieve.”