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Veterans to 'raq up free tuition at CUNY

June 24, 2008 | In the News

Veterans to ‘raq up free tuition at CUNY

BY STEPHANIE GASKELL
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER

Sunday, June 22nd 2008, 10:11 PM

Orley Pacheco doesn’t have to worry anymore about how he’ll pay for college.

The Iraq war veteran will get his full tuition paid at the Borough of Manhattan Community College under a new state program that gives veterans a free ride at city colleges.

Pacheco, 24, served with the U.S. Marines for five years. Now he’s building a life for himself in the civilian world – and sees college as his ticket to success.

“Transition is a very hard thing,” said Pacheco, a business major from the Bronx. “Without a degree, you’re just entry level, pushing papers.”

Veterans can get tuition paid at any of the 23 campuses of the City University of New York. Tuition for full-time CUNY students is about $2,800 a year.

Those at State University of New York schools also will get more college aid as part of the state’s 2009 budget.

Veterans applauded the move, but also urged President Bush to sign the new G.I. Bill, which is expected to reach a vote in the Senate this week. It passed the House last week as part of a $162 billion war funding package.

The new G.I. Bill would cover the cost of the most expensive in-state public university. It also would let soldiers who serve a certain number of years transfer unused college money to immediate family members.

“It’s outstanding that New York has stepped up to get education benefits for veterans, but the federal government needs to step up and follow their lead,” said Paul Rieckhoff, an Iraq war veteran who founded the New York City-based Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. “New York is definitely showing leadership.”

sgaskell@nydailynews.com