Part of Package to Promote Military Bases Advanced in Committee
TRENTON – A bill sponsored by Senator Ellen Karcher which would allow the children of military personnel stationed in New Jersey to take part in the same tuition assistance programs for higher education which are offered to in-state New Jersey residents was approved by the Senate Education Committee today by a vote of 4-0.
“Given the vital role of our troops in protecting and securing liberty in New Jersey and abroad, offering the same higher education opportunities to military children that we offer to our own children is a matter of fairness,” said Senator Karcher, D-Monmouth and Mercer. “Military children cannot develop roots in their transient homes, because the military lifestyle moves them from base to base as assignments end and begin all over the country. However, in New Jersey, we can provide them a little bit of an anchor, and give them incentives to continue their educations at some of our State’s fine higher education institutions.”
The bill, S-2205, expands the definition of State resident to include a dependent child whose parent or guardian has been transferred to a military base in New Jersey, regardless of how long they live here. The expanded residential status would make these children eligible for in-State tuition aid grants for which they might not otherwise qualify.
The bill is part of a legislative package to promote New Jersey’s viability as a location for military bases in response to threats from the Base Reallocation and Closure (BRAC) Commission to military installations such as Fort Monmouth and Picatinny Arsenal in New Jersey. Two other bills, S-2206, which expands the membership and scope of the New Jersey Council on Armed Forces to address quality of life issues of New Jersey’s troops, and S-2207, which would require prior notice of civilian development within 3,000 feet of a military base, were approved by the General Assembly on Thursday and are pending the Governor’s signature to become law.
“New Jersey’s military bases are vital components in our local economies, providing thousands of jobs to military and civilian personnel and drawing in high-tech firms which push military technology to the cutting edge,” said Senator Karcher. “We must protect these bases with every tool at our disposal, and by passing laws that benefit military bases and personnel, we are making the argument to the federal government that New Jersey is a great place to maintain a military presence.”
The bill now heads to the full Senate for a vote.