Talk about pure class.
Survivors of those who’ve been killed or severely wounded in the service of their country are already carrying a burden most Americans will never know.
Now, one American university is trying to take care of one major burden for them by partnering with an organization dedicated to honoring the sacrifice of the fallen.
The University of Memphis is the 21,000-student school in Tennessee’s legendary home of Beale Street, blues pioneers and Elvis Presley’s Graceland.
Folds of Honor is a national group formed more than a decade ago to provide scholarships for survivors and dependents of American military personnel who were killed or disabled while wearing their country’s uniform.
Together, the two are teaming up to make life easier for one special part of the American population.
According to the Memphis Commercial Appeal, the University of Memphis has become the first institution of higher education in the country to accept $5,000 annual scholarships from the Folds of Honor as full payment for the university’s tuition, which is about $9,700 for in-state students (not including room and board, books and fees).
The university had already been accepting Folds of Honor scholarships, which are funded by donations and fundraisers. But after a vote by the board of trustees in March, the school agreed to accept the $5,000 as payment in full for a year — in effect taking on almost half the tuition burden Folds of Honor students would normally be liable for.
Those eligible for Folds of Honor scholarships include children up to the age of 24 and spouses of any age, as long as they have not remarried.
Folds of Honor Senior Vice President Ben Leslie called the University of Memphis the “most patriotic university in the country,” according to the Commercial Appeal. Students attending under the organization’s scholarship will understand that, he said.
“They’re attending a school that acknowledges the sacrifices a family has made to protect their freedoms,” he said.
Whatever the financial cost the university is undertaking, it’s liable to be at least softened by the good will the gesture is generating.
Comments on social media – too often a witch’s brew of conflicting opinions on even the most benign topics – were almost uniformly praising the trustees’ decision. (It might help that Folds of Honor has a sterling reputation, rated with an exemplary four stars by the charity watchdog group Charity Navigator.)
It’s one of the few topics just about every American can agree on.
The families of America’s fallen, whether killed in the service or permanently disabled, deserve opportunities — like college educations — that might have been denied them because they’ve lost a parent or spouse.
In this case, the UofM has stepped up to the plate in a show of pure class — Southern style.
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