The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
Background on the President and First Lady’s Visit to Fort Stewart
Today, President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama will visit Fort Stewart in Georgia where the President will sign an Executive Order to help ensure all of America’s service members, veterans, spouses, and other family members have the information they need to make informed educational decisions and are protected from aggressive and deceptive targeting by educational institutions. Fort Stewart is home to the U.S. Army’s 3rd Infantry Division, one of the Nation’s premiere military units, which deployed numerous times to Iraq in support of Operations Iraqi Freedom and New Dawn, and currently has elements supporting Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. Fort Stewart has been a leader across the military by providing extensive educational counseling in order to protect its service members against aggressive and deceptive recruiting, serving as a model for other bases. In 2011, more than 4,800 soldiers at the Army post took over 15,000 college classes using Department of Defense (DoD) Tuition Assistance.
The following individuals will stand with the President and First Lady as they sign the Executive Order:
Sergeant Johnnie Marshall, Electronic Warfare Specialist & Student (Introducing the President)
Sergeant Johnnie Marshall, an Electronic Warfare Specialist in the 3rd Infantry Division stationed at Ft. Stewart, had a negative experience with a for-profit college. In 2010, Sergeant Marshall was referred by another student to a for-profit college. The school contacted him immediately and told him that he could earn his associate degree in one year using his educational benefits. After enrolling in two online courses, Marshall learned about the school’s accreditation issues and became concerned his credits would not transfer. After voicing his concern and attending an education fair at the Ft. Stewart Education Center, Sergeant Marshall transferred to Central Texas College. He is currently third in his class and is able to take classes around his training schedule. Sgt. Marshall plans to finish his degree with Central Texas College and remain a career Soldier.
Holly Petraeus, Assistant Director Assistant Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)
Holly Petraeus is an Assistant Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), heading up the Office of Servicemember Affairs. Her office’s mission is to partner with the Pentagon to see that military families receive strong financial education; to monitor complaints from military families and responses to those complaints by the CFPB and other agencies; and to see that federal and state agencies coordinate their activities to improve consumer protection measures for military families. Prior to joining the CFPB, Mrs. Petraeus spent six years as the Director of BBB Military Line, a program of the Council of Better Business Bureaus providing consumer education and advocacy for servicemembers and their families. A military spouse of 37 years and a former Department of the Army civilian employee, Mrs. Petraeus also has extensive experience as a volunteer leader in military family programs. In that role she has worked with local, state and national legislators on issues affecting Army families, to include testifying at two U.S. Senate hearings on deployment-related issues.
Semaj Grant, Army Veteran
After her medical discharge from the United States Army as a medic with Charlie Company, 703 BSB, 3rd Infantry Division in 2004, Ms. Semaj Grant returned home to Hinesville, Georgia to pursue her college education goals of earning a degree in human services. Following a stint at a local Hinesville college that eventually closed its doors, Ms. Grant enrolled in a for-profit institution. She felt that the school was not consistent in providing financial or advising information and was not veteran friendly, especially when it came to educational flexibility surrounding documented PTSD service connected disability. After taking five classes at a cost of over $10,000, Ms. Grant eventually left the for-profit school. Following a visit to the Ft. Stewart Education Center she enrolled in Columbia College using her Veteran’s Education Benefits. She is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in General Studies and plans to graduate in the Fall of 2012.
Amy Ivey, Military Spouse & Student
Amy Ivey, the spouse of Specialist Chad Ivey, an active duty Soldier in the Army’s 3rd Infantry Division, had a negative experience at a for-profit college. After she got married, Mrs. Ivey decided to pursue an Associate of Arts degree from a for-profit school. During the enrollment process, she was continually switched among multiple financial aid and academic advisors and eventually was placed with an “enrollment counselor” who called relentlessly each week until she was signed up for courses. Throughout the process, Mrs. Ivey was consistently given the impression that financial aid would cover all of her educational expenses and was not told until after she enrolled that financial aid also included student loans. Despite MYCAA and Federal Pell grant funding, she and her husband eventually had to dip into their savings to pay for the full cost of classes. Mrs. Ivey ended up leaving the for-profit school after finding the online classes and instructors disappointing. Today, she is enrolled full-time as a junior at Columbia College in Fort Stewart, Georgia. She utilizes MYCAA and Pell grant funding for tuition and expenses and has her financial obligation supplemented with a Columbia College Spouse Opportunity Grant.
Specialist Melissa Ann Schulte, Army Reservist & Student
SPC Melissa Ann Schulte joined the Army Reserves in 2001. SPC Schulte began her college studies at Central Texas College using the Army’s tuition assistance program. Later, in search of a specific degree, SPC Schulte did an online search for “military friendly schools.” Shortly afterward, she was inundated with phone calls, primarily from for-profit schools. SPC Schulte ended up enrolling in one of the for-profit institutions because it offered the degree she wanted. Once enrolled, SPC Schulte had several problems with the school and ultimately decided to leave for Columbia College. The for-profit she left has continued to call and try and get her back, even raising the erroneous claim that her current school is not accredited. SPC Schulte is very happy with the faculty and staff at Columbia College and is looking forward to taking classes at the Ft. Stewart Branch this May. SPC Schulte is married to Sergeant First Class Daniel Lee Schulte who was recently transferred to the 51st Chemical Company, 83rd Chemical Battalion at Fort Stewart, Georgia.
Tina Hysaw, Education Services Specialist, Ft. Stewart
Tina Hysaw has served the last twenty-five years as an Army Continuing Education Services (ACES) Specialist providing counseling services to Soldiers, family members and Army civilians and veterans. During her ACES tenure, Ms. Hysaw worked twelve years in Frankfurt Germany, and deployed to Bosnia/Herzegovina in 1996 to provide education services to Soldiers supporting Operation Joint Endeavor. The last thirteen years of Ms. Hysaw’s ACES career have been at Fort Stewart, Georgia. Ms. Hysaw hails from Seguin, Texas and graduated from Texas Woman’s University.
Dorothy (Dorcee) Taylor, Education Services Specialist, Ft. Stewart
Ms. Dorcee Taylor has worked in the Army Continuing Education Services (ACES) with the 3rd Infantry Division for 34 years serving as a counselor and supervisory education specialist. During this time she has worked in Karlsruhe and Giessen Germany, Fort Belvoir, the Pentagon and Fort Myer, Virginia. She has also had two tours at Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield, Georgia. In addition to her counseling duties, Taylor currently serves as the Education Center’s marketing liaison and the primary contact for Veterans Affairs. Taylor was born in Houston, Texas and grew up in Syracuse, New York and Edison, New Jersey. She attended Glassboro State Teachers College and earned a Masters in Guidance and Psychological Services with Georgia State University.
First Sergeant Keven Elwood, 3rd Battalion 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment & Student
First Sergeant Keven Elwood’s career is a testament to the benefits of the Army’s education programs. After first enlisting in the Army in 1996, First Sergeant Elwood has had several assignments, most recently serving in the 3rd Battalion 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment where he has been deployed to both Afghanistan and Iraq. Following a string of successes in military schools, First Sergeant Elwood excelled in college. In August of 2011 he completed an Associate of Arts in General Studies with Central Texas College through the Hunter Army Airfield, Georgia campus. With no break in his education, First Sergeant Elwood immediately enrolled in classes with Columbia College seeking to further the management skills he developed through the Army by enrolling in the Bachelor of Science in Business Administration program with a concentration in Management. After completing nearly a year with Columbia College he maintains a 3.67 Grade Point Average. First Sergeant Elwood is originally from South Point, North Carolina.