BISMARCK, ND — An undergraduate education is a juggling act, but not a solo one for active military members who enroll at University of Mary.
The campus is removing barriers to obtaining a college degree for people like Nicolette Daschendorf. As a full-time captain in the North Dakota Army National Guard, a wife and mother of three, education once seemed out of reach.
Now, the university is applying its longstanding mindset of offering scholarships to graduate students who are on active duty to the undergraduate class too. Such students can apply for a $2,400 scholarship per semester. Its impact can reach some 4,500 North Dakota National Guard members and 8,800 of the state’s air men and women alone.
“What’s unique about the new University of Mary scholarship is that we have an unlimited number of scholarships with a simple application process. So, every student who is active in the military that applies is accepted,” Dave Anderson, said in a press release.
The coordinator for Military Student Services at Mary spent 34 years in the service himself and recently retired as brigadier general of the North Dakota National Guard. “Typically, other schools and universities have limits on the number of military students they can accept and involves a competitive application process because they have only a certain number of available scholarships. Military members can now get their degree at Mary for not much more than the price of books and fees.”
The University of Mary recognizes that serving in the armed forces should never be a burden to service members. Accessibility, flexibility and feasibility are all prerequisites for military personnel looking to get their undergraduate degree.
The university offers programs that are adaptable for military students whose assignments and duties require changes in schedule. This means the university can accommodate deployments, tours, training exercises, state active duty, and transfers between duty stations. The University of Mary has been recognized repeatedly as a military friendly school in G.I Jobs and Military Advanced Education magazines.
Daschendorf called the new scholarship program “an incredibly gracious gift.” She has served in the military for 16 years and said it erases the worry about the financial strain a formal education can cause.
“I also take comfort in the fact that if I need to take a break or move classes around, I can do that as the University of Mary offers online and on-site programs for much of their classes so it makes it easier on those who need to remain flexible for work and family,” Daschendorf said.
Service members have a fellow veteran to thank for the scholarship opportunity. A. Kirk Lanterman, a 1950 Bismarck High School graduate, for two years served the country he loves in the Korean War as a combat medic.
“Our servicemen and servicewomen are the first line of defense for our country,” stated a passionate Lanterman. “They are honorably serving this great nation of ours, so hopefully this scholarship helps them earn that respected degree at the University of Mary and in turn their education helps promote the longevity of not only the National Guard— but all branches of the military they serve.”