CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- It pays to be a member of the Army National Guard at the University of Charleston --$19,500, to be exact.
Thanks to a new scholarship from UC, members of the National Guard can attend the Charleston private college without paying a dime.
Stephanie Nichols, an Army National Guard member and UC sophomore, is one of many students that UC officials hope take advantage of the school's varied attempts at making college more affordable.
"I used to go to West Virginia State and I wouldn't have gone to UC without this scholarship," said Nichols, from Cross Lanes. "It definitely helped out a lot financially."
In January, UC unveiled the new program, called the Golden Eagle Scholarship. It will provide $9,000 per year in tuition assistance for active members of the West Virginia Army National Guard and Air National Guard.
The state also provides a $6,000 educational stipend to National Guard members. In addition, the federal government provides $4,500 per year in tuition assistance to active members of the Army National Guard.
"The self-discipline and responsibility required to be a member of the armed forces gives these students a great foundation for success in college," UC President Ed Welch said in January. "This is our way of opening the doors wide to the men and women who serve our country in the National Guard."
Money was tight in Nichols' family, so a drastic cut in tuition and expanded scholarship opportunities at the University of Charleston allowed her to pursue her dream of becoming a military nurse.