Baird-sponsored bill for expanding vets' college opportunities passes

Monday, April 29, 2013

INDIANAPOLIS -- Legislation expanding in-state college tuition opportunities for veterans passed out of the General Assembly Friday.

District 44 State Rep. Jim Baird (R-Greencastle) sponsored Senate Bill (SB) 177, which will now go to the governor's desk and await the signature of Mike Pence before becoming a law.

"This legislation seeks to help our veterans attain a college degree," Rep. Baird, a Vietnam veteran himself, said.

"Pursuing higher education is an excellent self-improvement opportunity," he noted, "and by passing a bill that helps veterans acquire more knowledge and earn a degree, Indiana is working to provide them with the tools they need to become more successful in today's competitive job market, and make an even great contribution to their community and the state of Indiana."

The bill allows honorably discharged veterans and active National Guard members to receive in-state tuition if they enroll in a state college within a year of moving to Indiana.

Veterans wishing to apply must enroll in a state college no later than 12 months after they are discharged from the military. Additionally, they will have to establish state residency within their first year.

In order to establish Indiana residency, veterans can use any of the following methods:

Register to vote in Indiana.

Acquire an Indiana driver's license or a state identification card.

Register their motor vehicle in Indiana.

Provide any other proof approved by the commission.

Currently, there is no law qualifying veterans to receive in-state tuition if they move out of state or are stationed overseas, and this bill will expand opportunities for them to access a more affordable college degree.

"Indiana is committed to providing veterans, who sacrifice so much for our state and nation, every opportunity to succeed in their civilian affairs," Rep. Baird said. "This bill is one way that Indiana can show its gratitude for the incredible sacrifice that our veterans have made in service to our state and country."

For more information about SB 177, visit www.in.gov/legislative.

Rep. Baird represents all of Putnam County and portions of Clay, Owen, Parke and Morgan counties.

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