Legislation sponsored by a local lawmaker was signed into law Saturday by Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer.
Whitmer joined National Guard members, their families, and state lawmakers, including bill sponsor, state Rep. Jennifer Conlin (D-Ann Arbor), to sign legislation that expands the Michigan National Guard state tuition assistance program eligibility for spouses and dependents. Tuition assistance helps with recruiting, retention, and the overall quality of life for the Guard members and their families.
“Today’s bipartisan bill will lower the cost of higher education for spouses and children of Michigan National Guard Members,” said Whitmer. “I am proud that we can work across the aisle to support our service members and their families, who put their lives on the line to keep us safe and stand tall for our values and freedoms. As Michiganders, we will have their backs.”
House Bill 4199 expands eligibility for tuition assistance to spouses and dependents of National Guard members and increases the funding cap from $10 million to $15 million. The Michigan National Guard Tuition Assistance Program provides financial assistance for service members attending any public or private college, university, vocational school, technical school, or trade school located in Michigan.
“With the signing of HB 4199 into law, National Guard families in Michigan will have the flexibility to use the educational benefits that they have earned,” said Conlin. “The law will fulfill a dual purpose: directly providing opportunities to service member spouses and dependents and tackling the challenge of recruitment and retention head-on through the offering of this incentive.”
U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Paul D. Rogers, adjutant general and director of the Michigan Department of Military and Veterans Affairs said that since the program’s inception, over 6,000 guard members have benefited from MINGSTAP. “Now thousands of eligible spouses and dependents will have the same opportunity to earn a tuition-free degree or professional certificate,” he said. “Today’s announcement by Gov. Whitmer signals Michigan is serious about supporting military families who have made significant sacrifices on behalf of our state and nation.”
Conlin’s 48th House District includes Genoa and Hamburg townships, the Village of Pinckney and the southeast corner of Putnam Twp. in Livingston County.