OKLAHOMA CITY – Legislation passed the Senate Tuesday to make a higher education more attainable for members of the Oklahoma National Guard. Senate Bill 1418, also known as the Oklahoma National Guard Educational Assistance Act, by Sen. Kim David, would cover resident tuition and fees at Oklahoma colleges and universities for qualifying members.
The Porter Republican filed the bill following an interim study she hosted last fall on ways to improve recruitment and retention of Guardsmen and to clear up confusion regarding which members qualify for in-state tuition.
“There are few ways to truly express our appreciation for these brave men and women who voluntarily step up, often putting themselves in dangerous situations, during natural disasters, national crises, and to help protect the freedom of others around the world,” David said. “This bill will provide the same educational opportunities to our National Guardsmen that members in surrounding states receive, helping boost recruitment and retention. These financial incentives will make getting a degree more attainable, helping expand these heroes’ career opportunities and be better able to provide for their families.”
Guard members could enroll in up to 18 credit hours per semester, subject to funding availability. The amount of assistance would be capped at 120 credit hours for an associate’s or baccalaureate degree. Up to 40 credit hours would be covered for a graduate program. Recipients would be required to meet initial eligibility qualifications and meet ongoing retention requirements. Any member who received assistance and failed to maintain satisfactory participation in the Oklahoma National Guard would be required to repay the assistance amount received or seek a hardship waiver. The bill would also create a revolving fund to pay for the program.
SB 1418 will next be considered in the House where Rep. Nicole Miller, R-Edmond, is carrying the measure.
For more information, contact: Sen. David: (405) 521-5590 or Kim.David@oksenate.gov