SALEM, Ore. — Governor Kate Brown plans to sign a new bill into law tomorrow at Kingsley Field in Klamath Falls. House Bill 4035 provides opportunities for tuition aid to National Guard members.
“I’m proud to sign a bill into law that deepens Oregon’s commitment to our National Guard service members,” said Governor Brown. “Whether they’re fighting on the frontlines, fighting wildfires, or helping prepare our state for the influx of eclipse viewers, our Oregon Guard members are always ready to answer the call to help Oregonians in times of need. Extending tuition assistance to Guard members is one important way to show our appreciation for their service by investing in their education and future.”
Once the bill becomes law, eligible soldiers and airmen with the Oregon National Guard can apply for state-funded grants towards an associate or baccalaureate degree at any public university or community college in the state. Those opportunities would begin with the 2018-2019 academic year.
According to a statement from the Oregon Military Department, service members tend to cite money for education as the number one reason that they join the military. Soldiers who are eligible for the Montgomery G.I. Bill or Post 9/11 Bill will need to use those benefits first, before the new state assistance would apply. They also need to be in good standing with both their school and with the National Guard.
Qualified students can use up to 90 credit hours at an Oregon community college and up to 180 credit hours at a public university.
“This new law specifically bridges the federal tuition assistance shortfall and enables our Guard men and women to complete their associate or bachelor degrees,” said Maj. Gen. Michael Stencel, Adjutant General, Oregon.
House Bill 4035 passed the Oregon legislature with widespread bipartisan support and encouragement from the Governor. The bill was drafted by House Minority Leader Rep. Mike McLane, a Republican. The bill passed the legislature back on March 3.