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Bill approved for military family in-state tuition rates

Service members, veterans and military retirees have a number of financial aid options they may be qualified for beyond military service-provided tuition assistance, according to Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall Education Center officials. (Nell King/U.S. Army)

A bill that aims to close a loophole to guarantee in-state tuition rates for military families in Pennsylvania was unanimously approved in the state Senate Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee this week.

State Rep. Frank Burns, said his bill would guarantee in-state tuition rates for military families as soon as a student enrolls in a public college or university – regardless of whether their military parent is later reassigned out of state.

“These students shouldn’t be penalized because their parents chose to join the armed forces and, through no fault of their own, are reassigned to another state,” Burns said. “They shouldn’t have to pay higher tuition rates for serving our country. We owe our military families a debt of gratitude, not higher student debt.”

Currently, Burns said dependents of military personnel in Pennsylvania who enroll at a public college or university in Pennsylvania are charged in-state tuition rates.

However, the U.S. Department of Defense found some students lost that in-state rate due to a parent’s reassignment outside of Pennsylvania, between the day the student was accepted to the college or university and the first day of the semester.

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House Bill 1050, which Burns said has support from both parties, now heads to the full state Senate for further consideration.

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© 2019 The Tribune-Democrat