LANSING (AP) – Tuition would decrease for some military veterans who attend Michigan public universities and community colleges under legislation that overwhelmingly passed the state House Wednesday.
The two resolutions would amend the state constitution to require that in-state university tuition and in-district community college tuition rates be offered to all active duty military members, reservists and honorably discharged veterans, regardless of where they live.
The resolutions required two-thirds votes and both passed 108-1. They now go to the Senate. If approved by the Legislature, the changes will be decided by voters as a ballot issue in the November election.
“The Legislature has worked hard over the last several years to connect veterans in our state with the benefits they have earned, and this is just one more way Michigan residents can affirm their support of those who have served our country,” resolution sponsor Rep. Jim Stamas, R-Midland, said in a statement. “By adding this language to our constitution, we can retain our current veterans and attract new ones to our state, while ensuring they have access to the best higher education Michigan has to offer.”
An analysis by the nonpartisan House Fiscal Agency said the resolutions would reduce tuition revenue for schools by an “indeterminate” amount. Data isn’t available on the number of students who the amendments would affect, the analysis said.
The Michigan Community College Association opposes the legislation and says the state should cover the difference in lower tuition costs for veterans, which the legislation doesn’t address.
“Individual colleges will handle it different ways, and the impact is different at different colleges,” MCCA legislative director Erin Schor said. “They’ll be forced to make the decision about whether they have to raise costs for other students.”
Thirteen of the state’s 15 public universities already offer in-state tuition for certain veterans through a federal program, which would limit the impact of the changes for those schools, the House Fiscal Agency said.
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