TRENTON – Senator Jim Beach, chair of the Senate Military and Veterans’ Affairs Committee, introduced legislation last week that would extend tuition benefits to reservists in the U.S. military.
The bill would change current law to include reservists as recipients of tuition benefits at a public higher education institution in New Jersey. These benefits would include receiving up to 16 credits per semester of tuition for free and provides tuition benefits to a child or surviving spouse of a member of the reserve who is killed while on active duty and who is a resident of the state. Currently, members of the New Jersey National Guard receive these benefits.
“It is important that those who are serving our country have access to benefits they deserve, and that is why it is imperative that we provide reservists living in New Jersey with access to tuition assistance,” said Senator Beach (D-Burlington/Camden). “Currently, financial help to enroll in one of the state’s higher education institutions is provided to members of the New Jersey National Guard. By granting college tuition benefits equal to other military personnel, reservists would have the opportunity to further their career goals while easing the burden of loan debt and out-of-pocket costs.”
Under the legislation, a member of the reserve who is a resident of New Jersey would be eligible for the benefits. The reserve components of the Armed Forces of the United States include the Army Reserve, Navy Reserve, Marine Reserve, Air Force Reserve, and Coast Guard Reserve.
“The financial strain for reservists looking to further their career may prompt some to leave behind their goals and forego college,” added SenatorBeach. “Just like members of the National Guard, U.S. reservists could take advantage of the financial resources available to them, expanding these benefits to family members of reservists who have made the ultimate sacrifice while on active duty. This measure would ensure that enrollment at a public university or college is affordable and accessible to members and their families.”