Ark. Governor Signs Bill To Provide Free Tuition For National Guard Members
LITTLE ROCK (KFSM) — Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson signed a bill that will provide free college tuition to members of the Arkansas National Guard into law on Monday (March 13) .
Arkansas residents who are members of the Arkansas National Guard can attend a state-supported college, university or other institute of higher education without tuition, after the passing of Senate Bill 278. The soldiers or airmen must be in good standing with the Arkansas National Guard and with the higher education institution.
The tuition waiver only applies to students who are earning an undergraduate degree, and they must also apply for state and federal grants and scholarships. The tuition waiver will apply for up to 120 credit hours.
Previously, National Guard members were offered $2,500 per semester while earning an undergraduate degree. However, neighboring states have better education incentives, and Arkansas was having trouble recruiting people to join the Arkansas National Guard, according to the bill.
In 2016, Arkansas’ inability to attract a large enough National Guard unit resulted in a $37.2 million loss to the state’s economy.