(Photo Courtesy of State Senator Jim Banks)
STATEHOUSE (May 2, 2013) — Gov. Mike Pence signed Senate Enrolled Act 177 into law today – a bill authored by State Sen. Jim Banks (R-Columbia City) to give returning veterans access to a more affordable college education.
The legislation 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.
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.
“Indiana has always advocated for its veterans, and now, we have an opportunity to extend that advocacy to their college education,” Banks said. “As tuition costs skyrocket and more jobs require a four-year degree, this is the right time to enact legislation that helps our veterans access affordable tuition options. My hope is that with this advancement, more veterans will be encouraged to pursue higher education.”
Pence praised the efforts of Banks and others in passing this legislation.
“Veterans and their families make tremendous sacrifices to serve our nation and protect our freedom,” Pence said. “It is essential that we support and encourage these brave men and women to pursue a higher education and earn a college degree. I applaud the members of the General Assembly, and I am especially appreciative of the leadership of Sen. Jim Banks, one of the authors of the bill.”
The bill signing ceremony took place at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne. Members of veterans groups from the campus and community were in attendance.
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