IN House Passes Bill to Help Kids of Disabled Vets

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INDIANAPOLIS – Thanks to the efforts of State Rep. Mara Candelaria Reardon (D-Munster), legislation designed to assist Hoosier veterans interested in pursuing a college degree now contains language that helps the children of those who were disabled during their military service.
            On a 93-0 vote today, members of the Indiana House approved Senate Bill 177, which contains a series of provisions assisting veterans who wish to attend a state-supported college or university once they have completed their service.
            Among those provisions is a proposal from Candelaria Reardon that ensures that any child of a veteran with any form of service-related disability will be able to attend college without paying any tuition or fees. The benefit covers students pursuing an undergraduate degree and covers a four-year period.
            “This change corrects an egregious error made by the Indiana General Assembly back in 2011, when it was decided to scale back this plan in an effort by the previous administration to cut costs,” Candelaria Reardon said.
            “Up until 2011, any child of a veteran with any level of disability was able to attend college and have 100 percent of tuition and fees remitted over a four-year period,” she continued. “The change from 2011 reduced the level of benefits, which meant some children would have to pay for a portion of tuition and fees.
            “I felt that change reneged on our commitment to take care of those who give so much to take care of the rest of us, particularly when you consider that at the same time the Republican majority in the Legislature was cutting this benefit for disabled Hoosiers, they were also cutting corporate taxes,” Candelaria Reardon said. “This year was a perfect time to restore a sense of fairness to this issue.”
            Senate Bill 177 also provides that combat veterans can receive in-state tuition if they choose to go to a college or university in Indiana within a year of being discharged from their service. The bill also enables veterans to pursue a higher education with their tuition and fees frozen at a fixed rate over four years.
            “It is very easy for us to talk about demonstrating a commitment to those who place themselves in harm’s way, but I think now is the time to put those words into definitive actions that tell our veterans that we care for them, and we are willing to do everything we can to thank them for their service and help both them and their families,” Candelaria Reardon concluded.
            Senate Bill 177 now returns to the Indiana Senate to see if members there concur with changes made in the House.


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