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Gov. Whitmer Proposes National Guard Tuition Assistance Expansion

LANSING, Mich. - Today, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer presented her Fiscal Year 2023 budget proposal for the state, which includes funding that will allow Michigan National Guard service members to transfer current available tuition benefits to their spouses and children.

The Michigan National Guard State Tuition Assistance Program (MINGSTAP) was established in 2014 to provide tuition assistance to members of the Michigan National Guard (MING) who are attending any public or private college, university, vocational school, technical school or trade school located in Michigan. The current benefit covers the costs of obtaining an associate or baccalaureate degree and a stipend for masters degrees and certificate programs. The new proposal will enable this benefit to be transferred to family members.

"Michiganders who serve our nation in uniform and put their lives on the line are backed by their families and support systems at home who all make difficult sacrifices of their own," said Governor Gretchen Whitmer. "We can do more to help Guard families thrive, and that starts with ensuring they have opportunities to pursue their potential."

Greater financial support for soldiers, airmen and their families enhances the readiness of the National Guard. The Michigan Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMVA) estimates that there are over 725 children of MING members in the age group (up to age 26) for which transferability would be available, and although not everyone may take advantage of the benefit, it is anticipated that more than 400 children will.

"We know that supporting military spouses and families helps the morale and combat readiness of our service members," said Maj. Gen. Paul D. Rogers, adjutant general and Director of the Michigan Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. "By allowing for the transfer of tuition benefits to dependents we are showing the value of education extends not only to the service member, but to all family members, providing opportunity for increased wages, career development and high-skill employment."

"Allowing MINGSTAP tuition benefits to transfer to family members really demonstrates that the state understands the sacrifices service members and their families make for the Michigan National Guard, state and nation," said Jessica Brutzman, spouse of Michigan Army National Guard Sergeant Chris Brutzman. "This benefit expansion will provide immense educational benefits to so many members of MING and their families."

Expanding eligibility for tuition assistance will also help more Michiganders get on a path to good-paying jobs and help Michigan achieve its Sixty by 30 goal of having 60% of Michiganders attain a postsecondary degree or skills training by 2030. Since Governor Whitmer took office, the rate has climbed from 4%, to 49%.

Legislation is necessary to allow for this expanded benefit to be implemented and has been introduced in both the Michigan House of Representatives and the Michigan Senate. If passed and presented to the Governor prior to April 1, 2022, this benefit will be available for families in the Fall 2022 school semester.