MADISON… Veterans and members of the U.S. armed forces will have greater access to Wisconsin’s public higher education institutions under legislation waiving their application fees, which cleared the Assembly Committee on Colleges and Universities today in a unanimous vote.
State Rep. James Edming (R-Glen Flora) and state Sen. André Jacque (R-De Pere), who introduced the bipartisan measure, said the state should do all it can to remove barriers to higher education for veterans.
“As our men and women in the armed forces transition from the military back to civilian life many look at continuing their education at one of our state’s outstanding public universities or technical colleges,” said Rep. Edming. “While the cost of a college application fee may not seem like a big deal, for a veteran struggling financially it could be the difference that keeps them from applying for college in the first place or to the educational institution that they really want to attend.”
“While many believe that veterans have the financial means to apply due to their eligibility for other educational benefits, frequently that is not the case,” Sen. Jacque said. “Northeast Wisconsin Technical College (NWTC) staff told me that in several cases, veterans request application fee waivers due to low income, or because their family receives some other form of public assistance.”
This proposal would apply to University of Wisconsin System and Wisconsin Technical College System schools for all veterans and service members who apply to any associate or bachelor’s degree program, certificate or technical diploma. It is supported by the Wisconsin American Legion, the VFW-Department of Wisconsin, the County Veteran Service Officers (CVSOs), and the Wisconsin Vietnam Veterans.
The lawmakers said that, in addition to being a sign of gratitude for their service, waiving the application fee for veterans and service members may boost college recruitment of potential full-time student veterans and bolster Wisconsin’s workforce.
“After finishing their education, students often remain in the state where they completed their education, “Sen. Jacque said. “This bill is another way to help attract qualified, dedicated candidates to the thousands of jobs Wisconsin employers have available.”
“As we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, many employers once again find themselves struggling to find enough employees to meet their needs,” said Rep. Edming. “Encouraging our veterans to further their education in Wisconsin will also hopefully lead to them becoming part of our state’s workforce upon graduation.”
The measure (Assembly Bill 38) now heads for a vote in the full Assembly.