ugg rain boots Bill proposes tuition aid for Oregon National Guard
BEND, Ore. Oregon legislative session opened Monday, and already, a bill out of Central Oregon is being considered. It would provide tuition assistance to members of the Oregon National Guard.
If passed, Oregon would be the last state in the country to offer tuition assistance to members of the state National Guard.
House Bill 4035 was introduced by Rep. Mike McLane, R Powell Butte, and is co sponsored by Rep. Gene Whisnant, R Sunriver. If passed, the bill will require the Higher Education Coordinating Commission to provide tuition assistance for qualified members of the Oregon National Guard. The assistance could pay for up to 100 percent of their tuition costs.
According to Capt. Paul Brown at Bend National Guard Armory, there are currently 313 Army National Guard soldiers living in Central Oregon and 124 soldiers who live in elsewhere but train in Central Oregon.
“I think anything that you do to offer more incentives, especially in this time, when we having more demand placed on our training schedules and more demand for soldiers to spend time away from their families and their civilian jobs any incentive you can give them to make the Guard more attractive is a benefit for our soldiers,” Brown said.
Without being able to offer tuition assistance, McLane said Guard recruitment in Oregon is at a disadvantage.
“We have seen some decline in recruitment in the Army Guard, and significant decline as of late. Part of it is generation, part of it is the economy, part of it is we not in the active war, as we were previously,” McLane said.
In order to qualify, students would have to be a member of the National Guard and not have received any previous higher education. The bill is likely headed for an initial vote on Thursday, and assuming lawmakers decide to move the legislation forward, it will e reviewed by the Legislature Ways and Means budget committee a vote by lawmakers on whether to approve the move.