STATEHOUSE (April 23, 2013) — Military veterans would have access to more affordable college education under legislation authored by State Sen. Jim Banks (R-Columbia City). A final version of Senate Bill 177 passed both the Senate and House of Representatives today and now moves to the governor’s desk for signature into law.
SB 177 grants in-state tuition eligibility to honorably discharged veterans and active National Guard members who enroll in one of Indiana’s state colleges within a year of settling in Indiana. Currently, veterans serving in a different state or country may not qualify for in-state tuition upon returning home, increasing their college costs by thousands of dollars.
“With this legislation, Indiana has an opportunity to make significant strides in helping veterans earn their college degrees,” Banks said. “A recent Indiana University study showed that 18 percent of Hoosier veterans have at least a bachelor’s degree, which is below the national average of 26 percent. Expanding in-state tuition eligibility could help bridge that gap by easing veterans’ financial burden and improving their access to higher education.”
To be eligible, veterans are required to enroll in a state college or university no later than 12 months after their discharge or separation from the armed forces. They will then have to take steps to establish Indiana residency within 12 months of enrollment.
Rep. Jim Baird (R-Greencastle) is the bill’s sponsor in the House of Representatives.
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