The legislature's budget committee recently put limits on free tuition for veterans, and now the governor says those lawmakers raised a legitimate issue.
Governor Jim Doyle questions whether tuition remission for veterans should be "completely open-ended" for Wisconsin veterans enrolling in our universities and colleges.
"It was never intended to be just … get all the education forever and however much you want."
Although, he says, it's not his idea to limit a veteran's free college education to just the ten years after he returns from service.
"I have not supported the ten-year cutoff, in the past."
So, he says, maybe there can be some sort of compromise. The Tuition Remission Program, included in the new GI bill the governor signed into law with much fanfare on Memorial Day last year, was partly intended to pay back Vietnam veterans for their service. That point would be moot if lawmakers agreed to the Joint Finance Committee's proposed 10-year cut off, due to funding concerns because more veterans than expected are taking advantage of the program.
"You know, we have a lot of veterans right now."
Doyle says, the JFC vote of 16-0 is pretty significant, so he'll have to reexamine the idea … and that goes for the amount of graduate school, too.
"I think we're going to have to reach an accommodation, and that probably means to put some kind of limit on what the number of years a graduate education can be."
Doyle says the benefit was never intended for veterans to be lifelong students. He'll take a closer look at the proposals when the budget gets to his desk. The Senate will take up the matter next week.
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