SACRAMENTO - In a victory for our military veterans who are looking to advance their education in California, Senate Republicans voted unanimously today for Assembly Bill 13, which passed the Senate on a 36-0 vote. It requires the California State University and California Community College - and requests the University of California -to grant in-state tuition for all students using the GI Bill. If Senate Republicans had not fought to move this legislation forward in the final days of the 2014 legislative session, over 78,000 California veterans attending a UC, CSU or CCC faced the possibility of losing their GI Bill benefits.
Senate Republican Leader Bob Huff (R-Diamond Bar): “Our veterans put themselves on the line to preserve our freedom. It is only right that those who have served and choose to attend our colleges and universities should be able to receive in-state tuition regardless of whether they are a California resident. Our caucus members, along with Republican Assemblymember Rocky Chávez (a retired United States Marine Corps Colonel) worked very hard to make sure this vital legislation did not get overlooked on the final night of the legislative session. This is a significant accomplishment but more importantly, it’s the right thing to do.”
Senator Steve Knight (R-Antelope Valley): “Veterans have proven themselves to be hard working, driven, and dedicated; exactly the type of student and worker that California should be eager to attract and retain. By offering all veterans in-state tuition, Assembly Bill 13 acknowledges that veterans serve the entire United States.”
Senator Jean Fuller (R-Bakersfield): “As a representative of a district with five military bases and a former educator, the education of our veterans is a top priority for me. AB 13 is a common sense measure that protects this important education benefit earned by our veterans. It will ensure they have the freedom to pursue the colleges of their choice without being concerned about the costs associated with out-of-state tuition.”
Senator Andy Vidak (R-Hanford): “This bill is simply the right thing to do to support our veterans who have put their lives on the line to ensure the freedoms we enjoy each and every day. It’s refreshing to again see policy and process come together, and result in bipartisan consensus.”
Senator Anthony Cannella (R-Ceres): “For too many veterans, the transition from military service into the private sector is especially tough. California should be doing all it can to ease the reintegration of our veterans to civilian life. AB 13 is necessary to provide our returning military greater access to educational opportunities.”
Senator Mike Morrell (R-Rancho Cucamonga): “AB 13 ensures all veterans have the opportunity to attend California’s world-class universities and colleges. It’s a small way we can express our gratitude. My hope is that AB 13 will help these men and women capitalize on their unique talents and training.”
Senator Mimi Walters (R-Laguna Niguel): “AB 13 is long overdue. It is unconscionable to think that the men and women who are currently serving our nation in the armed forces would be required to pay out-of-state tuition when they attend a California educational institution while stationed here. It is gratifying that today we have finally taken a big step in removing barriers for our military in order to make higher education more accessible.”
Senator Tom Berryhill (R-Twain Harte): “Our military deserve every opportunity to succeed. I am very glad to see California join the ranks of states allowing service members to access in-state tuition rates. These are people that have put their lives on the line for us. It is a small token of our appreciation; something we should have already been doing.”
Senator Jim Nielsen (R-Gerber): “Veterans who honorably serve our country should be given every opportunity to further their education.”
Recent changes by the federal government in HR 3230 include a mandate for all public universities and colleges to provide in-state tuition rates to all GI Bill recipients, or forfeit all Title 38 funding. The California Legislature needed to comply with HR 3230 before adjourning for the year to ensure all veterans attending California colleges and universities would be granted in-state tuition.
AB 13 now goes back to the Assembly for a final vote before being sent to the governor for his signature.