SACRAMENTO – Senator Steve Knight (R-Antelope Valley) introduced legislation this year to make it easier for recently discharged veterans to continue their higher education goals. Senate Bill 290 has passed both houses of the legislature and now heads to the Governor’s desk for signature, Knight announced Thursday.
The measure allows a student who served as a member of the Armed Forces to be eligible for in-state tuition for up to two years following an honorable discharge, regardless of where they lived previously. Veterans face an enormous challenge upon discharge of assimilating back into civilian life. Through this measure, California can ease the financial burden by reducing veterans’ out of pocket costs to further their education, according to Knight.
“Members of the Armed Forces serve all citizens of the United States, not just one state. As such, they should not be penalized for settling in California when continuing their education,” stated Knight in a press release.
In August 2011, the United States Department of Veteran Affairs reduced the funding available for recipients of the Government Issued (GI) Bill to the rate charged for in-state tuition. Since this policy change, discharged veterans who have not established residency in the state where they attend school are responsible for paying the difference between resident and non-resident tuition fees. In California, this can add up to thousands of dollars, completely eliminating students’ ability to continue their education.
”Veterans have proven themselves to be hard working, driven, and dedicated; exactly the type of student and worker that California should be eager to attract and retain,” continued Knight. “SB 290 removes any ‘border’ between states as veterans serve the entire United States.”
Veterans already receive similar benefits in 19 other states. This measure will bring California in line with these states in honoring veterans. The Governor has until October 13 to act on this and other legislation.
(Information via press release from Senator Steve Knight.)