PA 09-159—SB 795
Higher Education and Employment Advancement Committee
AN ACT CONCERNING GRADUATE PROGRAMS AT CHARTER OAK STATE COLLEGE, THE KIRKLYN M. KERR GRANT PROGRAM AND VETERAN TUITION WAIVERS
SUMMARY: The law requires the boards of trustees of UConn, the Connecticut State University system, and the regional community-technical colleges to waive tuition for veterans who meet certain criteria. This act allows the institutions to recover federal educational assistance payments under the 2008 Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act by limiting the waiver for eligible veterans who apply for these benefits. It (1) requires that the college waive only the tuition charges that exceed the amount of federal benefits granted for tuition and (2) establishes a formula for calculating the federal benefit amount.
The act explicitly authorizes the Board for State Academic Awards to award undergraduate and graduate credits and degrees and allows it to do so through courses offered by Charter Oak State College.
The act designates the Department of Higher Education grant program for state residents pursuing veterinary medicine degrees as the Kirklyn M. Kerr grant program. It also makes technical and conforming changes and corrects internal references.
EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2009
POST- 9/11 VETERANS EDUCATIONAL ASSISTANCE
The act requires, for qualifying veterans who have applied for federal educational assistance under the 2008 Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act, that the institution waive only the tuition charges that exceed the “veteran tuition benefit. ” It defines “veteran tuition benefit” as the portion of federal educational assistance, pursuant to the federal act, that represents payment for tuition due to the college on behalf of the veteran. The act establishes the following formula for calculating the veteran tuition benefit:
Total amount of federal educational assistance due to the college on behalf of the veteran
Actual tuition charged to the veteran
Actual tuition and fees charged to the veteran
If the veteran certifies to the pertinent board of trustees that his or her application for such federal educational assistance has been denied or withdrawn, the board must waive the veteran's tuition pursuant to the state's existing tuition waiver law.
Veterans Tuition Waiver Eligibility
To qualify for a tuition waiver under existing law, a veteran must:
1. have at least 90 days of wartime service during or in specified wars, operations, or conflicts unless he or she was separated from service sooner because of a Veterans' Administration-rated, service-connected disability or served for the duration of any military operation that lasted for less than 90 days;
2. be honorably discharged from active service;
3. be accepted for admission at one of the state's public colleges or universities; and
4. be domiciled in the state when he or she is accepted for admission.
BOARD FOR STATE ACADEMIC AWARDS
Prior law authorized the Board for State Academic Awards to (1) award credits and degrees based on examinations and other types of learning evaluation and validation, including credit transfers, and (2) appoint adjunct faculty as consulting examiners to make recommendations on requirements and standards for the board's programs, credits, and degrees.
This act explicitly authorizes the board to award undergraduate and graduate credits and degrees and allows it to do so through courses offered by Charter Oak State College. It also explicitly allows the consulting examiners to make recommendations for awarding undergraduate and graduate credits and degrees.
Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act
Veterans, including guard members called to federal active duty, generally qualify for benefits under this federal act if they have served at least 90 days of active duty (unless released earlier for specified reasons), with at least some active duty service on or after September 11, 2001.
The amount of benefits depends on certain factors, including the veteran's enrollment (e. g. , part- or full-time) and service status.
In general, veterans are eligible for up to 36 months of assistance (four academic years), including tuition and other benefits (e. g. , housing, books, and supplies).
Benefits may be used only at degree-granting institutions.
Private colleges and universities can participate in the program. The federal government will pay up to 50% of the cost greater than the most expensive public program and make tuition and fee payments directly to the school.
Veterans who receive educational benefits under this act may not receive assistance under other similar programs at the same time.
OLR Tracking: RP: KM: PF: DF