1st Generation College Student "Benefits"

  • Published
  • By 2nd Lt. Tiffany Pasker
  • 180th FW PA
Those of us who have older siblings are blessed because we are able to learn from their life experiences. That is just what Senior Airman Madeline L. Ruyle, Services Specialist, did. In a household which fosters hard work and independence, her four older sisters went on to college, but unfortunately did not receive financial assistance to fund the cost of their tuition. After witnessing the hardship that her sisters faced working to pay for college and utilizing financial aid, Ruyle decided to do something different. 

After many conversations with her father, a former pilot during the Vietnam War, Ruyle contacted the 180th Recruiting Office. Not only did she gain information about the G.I.Bill and 100% tuition assistance, but she found that if she enlisted into the Services career field, she would also be eligible for the G.I. Bill kicker and the enlistment bonus. Outside of the 100% tuition, Ruyle receives about $600.00 in education benefits. She currently utilizes the payment plan to manage her finances. 

"I only owe about $30.00 at the end of the month," said Ruyle. She also stated that she has to pay for books out of her own money, however, it was a small amount to pay
for a big benefit. 

Ruyle is currently enrolled at Owens Community College and is majoring in accounting. Once she completes her associate degree, she plans to transfer to Bowling Green State University where she will continue her educational track and obtain her bachelor's degree in Business Management. Her future plans include re-enlisting in the Air National Guard after completing her six year enlistment and possibly becoming a pilot. Upon completion of her bachelor's degree she plans to obtain
a position as an investment advisor for Private Wealth Consultants, a family owned business. 

"It has taught me how to be responsible and how to work as a team," said Ruyle, when asked how the military relates to her civilian life. 

She also acknowledged the training received as a part of the Services Career Field, and how it has brought awareness to her overall health and placed an emphasis on management skills which will be needed for her future career as an owner of a consulting firm. 

The tuition assistance is extremely important to Ruyle and her family. She has seen her sisters drop out of school as a result of not beingable to overcome the financial burden associated with the cost of tuition. 

"I probably wouldn't have the motivation to go to school if I didn't have the tuition assistance," said Ruyle. "I definitely would not strive for a bachelor's degree." 

As she does not like to be in debt, she feels relieved that she does not have to worry about paying back student
loans. She is looking forward to moving out of her parent's house which is something that she would not be able to do if she did not have the extra tuition benefits. 

"My parents are very proud of me," said Ruyle. "I am able to go to school without causing a financial burden on them."

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