On May 28, this past Memorial Day, the University of Memphis announced that it would no longer charge tuition from students who had a parent or spouse that had been severely injured or killed in the line of duty.
The University thus becomes the first school in the country to offer the Folds of Honor scholarship as a payment-in-full scholarship or one that pays all of a student’s tuition. The Folds of Honor scholarship, which was established in 2007 by Major Dan Rooney, who is himself a veteran of the Iraq War.
While flying home from his second tour of duty, Major Rooney saw a young man deboarding with his twin brother’s casket. The brother was a soldier who had been killed in Iraq, and the young man was bringing the casket back to their waiting family – including the soldier’s four-year-old son. Rooney was struck by the realization that the small boy would grow up without his father, and he decided he wanted to help such families. He established the Folds of Honor scholarship to help military families pay for college educations.
The Folds of Honor scholarship provides $5,000 every year to students who meet their requirements. Children of servicemen or servicewomen need to be undergraduate students who are under the age of 24. Spouses can be any age, but they can’t have remarried.
The University’s new policy will take effect immediately, so both current and future members of the Folds of Honor will not have to pay any more tuition.
Tuition at the University of Memphis typically costs around $9700, plus room and board, textbooks, and assorted fees. President David Rudd, who will formally sign the deal within the next few weeks, explained that various scholarships could cover the remaining fees not covered by the Folds of Honor scholarship. He added, “This sacrifice is remarkable, and we need to recognize that.”