House Bill No. 17
Introduced By pavlovich
By Request of the Joint Interim Subcommittee on Veterans' Needs
A Bill for an Act entitled: An Act AUTHORIZING THE BOARD OF REGENTS TO PROVIDE TUITION WAIVERS Pursuant to the Montana National Guard EDUCATION BENEFIT Program; AMENDING SECTION 20-25-421, MCA; and providing effective dates.
WHEREAS, the Montana National Guard is recognized by the highest command levels as an outstanding military organization; and
WHEREAS, the Montana National Guard has been assigned a force structure that provides exceptional opportunity as it moves into the 21st century; and
WHEREAS, the Montana National Guard cannot and should not depend solely upon federal programs to entice Montana citizenry to join or stay in the Guard; and
WHEREAS, the state's investment in the Montana National Guard education benefit program could provide to Montana communities an economic benefit that is currently not being realized in wages and tax revenue.
STATEMENT OF INTENT
A statement of intent is necessary for this bill because [section 1] authorizes the department of military affairs to adopt rules necessary to implement and administer a national guard education benefit program and provides the department with specific guidelines for the proposed rules.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Montana:
Section 1. Montana national guard education benefit program -- rulemaking. (1) There is a Montana national guard education benefit program from which the department may recommend tuition waivers for qualified Montana national guard members.
(2) A national guard education benefit:
(a) must be used within 10 years of the first award;
(b) is available only during fall and spring semesters unless approved by an army or air education officer;
(c) must be based on a 6-year enlistment in or a qualifying reenlistment commitment to the Montana national guard;
(d) may be awarded only to members who, at the time of the award, hold the military grade of:
(i) officer, grade 1 or 2;
(ii) warrant officer, grade 1 or 2; or
(iii) enlisted, grades 1 through 7;
(e) may not be used for second or subsequent undergraduate degrees or for graduate degrees; and
(f) is exclusive of the Montgomery GI Bill Act of 1984 (10 U.S.C. 16131 through 16135), enlistment bonuses, or any other federal incentive or entitlement.
(3) An enhanced education benefit is an education benefit that is awarded in addition to a national guard education benefit and that is available only to members assigned to perform identified critical skills.
(4) Pursuant to Title 2, chapter 4, the adjutant general shall adopt rules necessary to implement and administer the provisions of this section, including rules that:
(a) outline the selection and qualification criteria for scholarship applicants;
(b) define the terms used in the scholarship program; and
(c) establish procedures and forms to be used by scholarship applicants.
Section 2. Section 20-25-421, MCA, is amended to read:
"20-25-421. Charges for tuition -- waivers. (1) The regents may
: (1) prescribe tuition rates, matriculation charges, and incidental fees for students in institutions under their jurisdiction ;.
(2) The regents may:
(a) waive nonresident tuition for selected and approved nonresident students, not to exceed at any unit 2% of the full-time
equivalent enrollment at that unit during the preceding year; except that when necessary, tuition may be waived in excess of
2% of unit enrollment for nonresident students who enroll under provisions of any WICHE-sponsored state reciprocal
which that provide for the payment, where when required, of the student support fee by the reciprocal state; (3)(b) waive resident tuition for students at least 62 years of age; (4)(c) waive tuition and fees for: (a)(i) persons of one-fourth Indian blood or more who have been bona fide residents of Montana for at least 1 year prior to
enrollment in the Montana university system; (b)(ii) persons designated by the department of corrections pursuant to 52-5-112; (c)(iii) residents of Montana who served with the armed forces of the United States in any of its wars and who were
honorably discharged from military service; (d)(iv) children of residents of Montana who served with the armed forces of the United States in any of its wars and who
were killed in action or died as a result of injury, disease, or other disability incurred while in the service of the armed
forces of the United States; or (e)(v) the spouses or children of residents of Montana who have been declared to be prisoners of war or missing in action; (5)(d) waive tuition charges for qualified survivors of Montana firefighters or peace officers killed in the course and scope
of employment. For purposes of this subsection, a qualified survivor is a person who meets the entrance requirements at the
state university or college of the person's choice and is the surviving spouse or child of any of the following who were
killed in the course and scope of employment: (a)(i) a paid or volunteer member of a municipal or rural fire department; (b)(ii) a law enforcement officer as defined in 7-32-201; or (c)(iii) a full-time highway patrol officer.
(3) If funds are available after the waivers provided for in subsection (2), the regents may waive tuition for up to 5,000 credits each academic year in accordance with the national guard education benefit program provided for in [section 1]. "
Section 3. Codification instruction. [Section 1] is intended to be codified as an integral part of Title 10, chapter 1, part 1, and the provisions of Title 10, chapter 1, part 1, apply to [section 1].
Section 4. Effective dates. (1) Except as provided in subsection (2), [this act] is effective July 1, 1997.
(2) [Section 1(4) and this section] are effective on passage and approval.