The bill was proposed by Indiana Senator Luke Kenley. He says the proposal is designed to reduce the amount of assistance available to children of disabled veterans from full payment to a scale that determines how much students receive by the level of their parent’s disability. The grant, as it currently stands, provides for 100 percent tuition and general fees payment but if reformed would make a scale so that less than 9 percent disability receives 20 percent of tuition costs, 10-79 percent receive 30 percent of tuition costs and 80 and above receive 100 percent tuition costs.
According to the Legislative Services Agency in 2008-2009 there were more than 5,000 children receiving benefits from the grant. About three- quarters of the students had a parent with less than 50% disability. If passed the savings is estimated to be between $2.5 to $9 million annually. Veteran Affairs Service Officer, Larry Catt is opposed to the bill. He says the grant is all some people have to pay for school and many veterans including himself are appalled by the idea.
“About everybody that comes in is upset that they are even considering doing that. And I know service organizations have gone out and solicited their membership and they are also pretty much opposed,” said Catt.
Catt says the VFW, American Legion, DAV and AMVETS are also opposed to any kind of funding cut that could happen.
IU Veterans Services office student service assistant, Sarah Gibson says cuts in funding might deter some students from attending school because of financial concerns.
“ I think that our veterans, like I said previously have relied on this to help fund their children’s education. And to take this away from them would be in my opinion very unfortunate,” said Gibson.
The bill also wants to cut funding for tuition assistance to inmates as well as the 21st century scholarships program.