The Backpack: A news source for parents and families of students at Northern Arizona University The Backpack
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Vol. 7 No. 33 | July 19, 2011

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Making higher education more accessible for military personnel and veterans

Northern Arizona University will be the first public university in the state to accept the Department of Defense (DOD) Tuition Assistance (TA) tuition rate for active duty military, reserve forces, and National Guard personnel who qualify beginning this fall.

Under the DOD TA program, DOD currently will pay up to $250 per credit hour in tuition assistance for qualified active duty military, National Guard, and reserve forces personnel to attend college at the undergraduate or graduate level. If there are additional costs, the military student must make up the difference. Beginning this fall NAU will be the first public university in the state to accept what DOD TA will allow per credit hour. This means a significant savings of up to $1,000 per course for the military student.

"Making education more accessible to our military is the right thing to do," said retired Lt. Col. Andrew Griffin, director of NAU's Office of Military and Veteran Affairs. "Service members are in harm's way on a daily basis serving in Afghanistan, Iraq, and around the world. They have earned our support in working toward earning a degree."

The university's goal is to be one of the most military and veteran friendly universities in the Southwest, Griffin said.

Last year, the university opened an Office of Military and Veteran Affairs dedicated to guiding the admission, transition, retention, graduation and career services for active duty military members, the National Guard, reserve forces, veterans, and their families. The office operates a one-stop military and veteran center on the Flagstaff campus and is staffed by student veterans. The center, which also may be accessed online, provides assistance or referrals to service departments for students enrolled at any of the university's extended campuses across the state. NAU also offers a college transition course for veterans.

"Our goal is to help our service men and women easily transition, be retained, and then graduate from NAU," Griffin said.

Visit or call 928-523-VETS for more information.

Whooping Cough Is Back!

Whooping cough (or Pertussis) is a very contagious respiratory illness caused by the bacteria Bordatella pertussis. Childhood vaccinations prevent this illness early in life. A booster shot is now recommended in the teen years because the infection is making a comeback. Over 6,400 cases of pertussis were reported in the US during 2010. Although fatal in infants, older children, teens and adults usually survive but can become very ill.

The illness is characterized by a persistent cough which can last for weeks, hence the nick-name “the 100 day cough.” The cough comes in violent fits or bursts often preceded by a loud inspiratory “whoop.” It is spread through close contact with droplets from the mouth and nose of an infected person. Spreading of the germ happens when the infected person coughs, sneezes or talks. Complications include pneumonia, seizures, middle ear infection, dehydration, encephalopathy/brain damage and death. It can be treated with macrolide antibiotics like erythromycin or azithromycin.

The vaccine for teens is called the Tdap. It is combined with the vaccine for diphtheria and tetanus. The Tdap can be administered regardless of when the last Td (tetanus-diphtheria) was given. The Tdap is available through the Campus Health Services. The fee-for-service cost is $45 plus a $10 injection fee.

This immunization is not covered by the Gold Plan.

Students will need to check their health plan to see if your insurance covers the shot.

Learn by doing and get paid for it!

The Office of the Vice President for Research recommends that undergraduate students participate in scholarship, creative projects, or research activities outside the classroom and learn by doing. Even better, there are funds available to support this work!

For example, the Hooper Undergraduate Research Award (HURA) is an annual grant designed to encourage our undergraduates to engage in projects (scholarly, creative, or research) of their own design. With the guidance of a faculty mentor, students can be funded for up to $3,500 over the course of the summer, fall, and/or spring semesters. Information sessions will be held early in the fall semester; the proposal deadline is early in the spring semester.

Notifications about this, and other scholarly, creative, or research opportunities, are updated on our Facebook page. Stay tuned for our new and improved website!

Family Weekend Commemorative T-Shirt

Family Weekend T-shirts!

When you order your tickets for Family Weekend, don’t forget to add a t-shirt or two! T-shirts can be purchased through the Central Ticket Office and must be ordered by September 1 to ensure delivery to campus by Family Weekend. Available sizes range from youth-medium to adult-XXL.

Packing Up

Packing Lists: What to Bring and What to Leave at Home

It is almost a month away from move in day (Thursday, August 25) but you may already be wondering, “What should my student bring to campus?” The answer is: everything they need to make their residence hall room a home. This includes bedding, towels, storage, toiletries, and cleaning products.

Refrigerators are already in each room, but microwaves are not. If your student and his/her roommate decide to have a microwave, it must be under 700 watts.

For a full list of what to bring and what to leave at home, as well as other important information, visit the Office of Residence Life website.

Event Highlights

See a complete listing of university events on the official university calendar website. More Flagstaff event highlights can be seen at ShowUp Flagstaff and Flagstaff Happenings. More travel, dining, shopping, and event information is available from