Government Relations

UM Legislative Update Newsletter

January 26, 2007

Senate committee hears bills involving military grants and scholarships

Several bills have been filed this year that would provide additional benefits to military personnel or their families who want to pursue higher education in Missouri. Two such bills were heard on Wednesday, Jan. 24, before the Senate Pensions, Veterans’ Affairs and General Laws Committee.

SB12, sponsored by Sen. Maida Coleman (D-St. Louis), would establish a program to provide up to 25 tuition grants to the surviving spouses and children of any member of the military who served in armed combat and was killed in the line of duty. The program would be administered through the Coordinating Board for Higher Education and would be subject to appropriation. A similar measure was considered in the General Assembly last year and was part of the omnibus higher education bill that failed in the final days of the session.

SB75, also sponsored by Coleman, would limit tuition charged to combat veterans to $50 per credit hour at public institutions. The act defines combat veterans as those who served in armed combat after Sept. 11, 2001. The act does not establish a fund through the Department of Higher Education to support the program, so institutions would be required to absorb the cost of the program. Coleman did indicate in the hearing that she was open to additional discussions on various aspects of the bill, including a suggestion that the amount waived be varied based on the cost of the credit hour.

The committee took no action on the bills.

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