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Gov. Rick Snyder signs bill connecting National Guard members to education, job opportunities

HB 5451
Snyder signs House Bill 5451, creating a National Guard Tuition assistance program. He is joined by (from left to right) Michigan National Guard Pfc. Ian Cunningham, Gen. Gregory Vadnais, director of the Michigan Department of Military and Veterans Affairs; and state Rep. Bruce Rendon, sponsor of the bill.

Establishes tuition assistance
Tuesday, July 1, 2014

LANSING, Mich. – Gov. Rick Snyder today signed legislation to provide Michigan National Guard members with tuition assistance.

“This is one of the key ways we can give back to those who make countless sacrifices on our behalf,” Snyder said. “This legislation will help our guard members connect with the tools they need to thrive in their chosen professional fields while creating the talent Michigan needs to fill in-demand jobs.”

House Bill 5451, sponsored by state Rep. Bruce Rendon, creates the Michigan National Guard Tuition Assistance Act and the Michigan National Guard Tuition Assistance Fund. Together, they will help cover continuing education costs for National Guard members. The assistance can be used for any college, university or vocational, technical or trade school in the state.

“These benefits will help transition our National Guard members from their dedicated time in the service to the civilian workforce,” said Rendon. “It’s important we keep our talent in Michigan. Military members have strong work ethics and great leadership skills. Further education will build on these characteristics.”

Under the new National Guard Tuition Assistance Act:

  • Assistance is available for eligible Army and Air Guard members of all ranks.
  • Up to $4,500 per year with a $250 per credit-hour cap.
  • Assistance will be awarded in the form of a reimbursement.
  • The educational institution attended must have a campus or headquarters in Michigan, with some exceptions for Air National Guard personnel.
  • Can be used for certificates, associate degrees, bachelor’s degrees and master’s degrees
  • An eligible person who receives assistance will need to provide evidence of attendance and completed coursework. Any assistance provided for uncompleted coursework will be reimbursed to the fund.
  • To be eligible for assistance an applicant must be in active service in the Michigan Air or Army National Guard, not be absent without leave, maintain a grade point average of 2.0 on a 4.0 scale and meet additional criteria provided for by the adjutant general.

"Tuition assistance is a tremendous tool for our team and will assist in our efforts to recruit and retain the best and brightest soldiers and airmen," said Maj. Gen. Gregory Vadnais, the adjutant general of the Michigan National Guard and director of the Michigan Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. "For the Michigan National Guard, this boils down to readiness."

Michigan was one of seven states not providing tuition assistance to National Guard Members. The governor called for the tuition assistance program as part of his FY 2015 budget recommendation. Nearly $5 million is appropriated for the fund which will be located in the Department of Treasury and capped at $10 million.

The bill is now Public Act 259 of 2014.

For more information, visit legislature.michigan.gov.

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