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Beach/Gill Legislation Easing Cost Of Higher Education For Veterans & Armed Forces Members Clears Committee

A view of the Senate Chambers from the 2010-2011 Senate Reorganization.

TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senators Jim Beach (D – Camden) and Nia H. Gill (D –Essex) that would help ease the cost of higher education for veterans and members of the United States Armed Forces has cleared the Senate Military and Veterans’ Affairs Committee.

“This small, common sense measure is the least we can do for our service men and women,” said Beach, chair of the Committee. “Considering the cost of higher education and the sacrifice our people in uniform have made, it’s a no-brainer. Not only is it a way of saying ‘thank you’ but it also encourages people to continue their education so they can compete in today’s workforce.”

“The cost of applying to college can be prohibitive for our service members, many of whom are applying from a base overseas or while transitioning back to civilian life,” said Gill. “Eliminating the cost of application and transcript fees will help to ease the financial burden on members of our Armed Forces and our veterans and remove an unnecessary economic hurdle in the process.”

The bill, S2249, would require public institutions of higher learning to waive or reimburse application fees and transcript fees for veterans and members of the United States Armed Forces upon acceptance to the institution. The bill would also apply to reservists and National Guard personnel who reside in New Jersey.

The legislation will help incentivize veterans and armed service members to apply to New Jersey institutions of higher learning, while also helping to alleviate some of the financial difficulties they face either while in, or returning from, service. While some institutions already have a similar policy, it is currently not required by the state.

The bill now heads to the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee.

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