Tuition Benefits for Families of Guard Members Proposed | News, Sports, Jobs
Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer on Wednesday presented her proposed fiscal year 2023 budget for the state, which includes funding that would allow Michigan National Guard service members to transfer currently available tuition to their spouses and children.
The Michigan National Guard Tuition Assistance Program was established in 2014 to provide tuition assistance to members of the Michigan National Guard attending a public or private college, university, vocational school , a technical or trade school located in Michigan.
The current benefit covers the costs of earning an associate’s or bachelor’s degree and a stipend for master’s and certificate programs. The new proposal will transfer this benefit to family members.
“The Michiganders who serve our nation in uniform and put their lives on the line are sustained by their families and support systems at home who all make their own difficult sacrifices,” said Whitmer. “We can do more to help Guard families thrive, and that starts with making sure they have the opportunity to pursue their potential.”
Greater financial support for Soldiers, Airmen and their families improves National Guard readiness. The Michigan Department of Military Affairs and Veterans Affairs estimates that more than 725 children of Guard members fall into the age group – up to 26 – for which portability would be available, and although not everyone can not take advantage of the benefit, it is expected that more than 400 children would.
“We know that supporting military spouses and families contributes to the morale and combat readiness of our service members,” said Maj. Gen. Paul D. Rogers, adjutant general and director of the Michigan Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. “By allowing tuition to be transferred to dependents, we are showing that the value of education extends not just to the service member, but to all family members, providing the opportunity to increase wages , career development and highly skilled employment.
Legislation is needed to enable the implementation of this expanded benefit and has been introduced in both the Michigan House of Representatives and the Michigan Senate. If passed and presented to the governor by April 1, 2022, this benefit will be available to families during the fall 2022 school semester, according to Whitmer’s office.
Lawmakers have yet to weigh in, but the proposal deserves their full attention.