Measure seeks tuition break for returning veterans



Alexandra Nicolas

Jefferson City, MO – Soon, higher education may be even more affordable for Missouri veterans.

Sen. Maida Coleman’s (D- St. Louis) Senate Bill 830 would lower the cost to of higher education to $50 per credit hour at state-funded institutions for veterans up to 10 years after they return from service. However, veterans must be a Missouri resident and have served after Sept. 11, 2001.

Similar legislation was introduced last year and passed in the House, but ran out of time in the Senate.

Coleman’s goal is to better integrate veterans back into civilian life.

“We support any efforts to integrate our comrades in arms back into society,” said Dewey Rean, member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars.

However, the bill may be revised to charge veterans a percentage of the school’s tuition. Marty Oetting, University of Missouri lobbyist also encouraged the establishment of a “Missouri returning heroes” fund to help balance the cost with schools.

“Otherwise I think it would have to be absorbed by the institutions, we’d have to find the dollars somewhere out of our operating budget,” he said.

Though the G. I. Bill provides for veterans after their tours of duty are over, it can also eliminate options for federal financial aid.

Veterans would also be required to maintain a 2.5 grade-point-average for the duration of their educations.