Governor signs law expanding tuition assistance for Oregon National Guard members

House Bill 2817 builds on a previous law aimed at helping those who serve receive higher education.

Posted: Aug 20, 2019 5:08 PM
Updated: Aug 20, 2019 5:21 PM

SALEM, Ore. — A new bill just signed into law by Governor Kate Brown will allow members of the Oregon National Guard to receive tuition assistance at Oregon Health and Science University and private colleges — in addition to the community college and public universities that were previously allowed, according to the Oregon Military Department (OMD).

"This law will expand higher education grants to qualified members of the Oregon National Guard by permitting grants to be used for undergraduate degree program at OHSU or qualifying private post-secondary institutions," OMD said, "Or for program or curriculum designed to lead to certificate of completion at community college, public university, OHSU or qualifying private post-secondary institutions."

House Bill 2817 states that “Grants provided under this section shall be awarded to a qualified student for up to 90 credit hours at a community college; or 180 credit hours at a public university and now 180 credit hours at a qualifying private institution; or 180 credit hours at Oregon Health and Science University.”

The newly expanded tuition assistance rules will go into effect for the 2020-21 academic year. It builds upon a previous law, signed in April of 2018, that provided for National Guard members attending public universities and community colleges.

Both laws require that students be in good academic standing with a cumulative grade point average of 2.0 or higher at the college they attend.

According to a fiscal impact statement published by lawmakers, these grants are paid for using money from the state's General Fund, overseen by the Higher Education Coordinating Commission.

"Based on information currently available, the 2019-21 budgeted amounts for grants under this program could be sufficient to cover the increased demand anticipated with passage of this bill," the analysis found. "If demand for the program outpaces the budgeted amount for 2019-21, the agency may need to return to the Emergency Board for additional resources."

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