Government Relations

UW System Position on Bills Introduced in the Legislature During the 2007-2008 Session

Pending Legislation

AB 132

Tuition Fee Remission for Certain Family Members of Veterans

Full Description

(Schneider/Lassa)  Under current law, a spouse, child, or un-remarried surviving spouse of certain veterans is eligible for a full remission of tuition at the University of Wisconsin System and at technical colleges.  For the spouse, un-remarried surviving spouse, or child to be eligible, the veteran must have entered service while a resident of this state and either died while on duty or incurred a service-connected disability that is rated as 30% or more.

This bill expands the tuition remission to include the spouse or child of a veteran who is a resident of this state and was a resident of this state for at least 15 continuous years before the student registers.

March 7, 2007 – Assembly Veterans and Military Affairs Committee held a public hearing on AB 132.  No executive action taken.

*Rep. Schneider stated at the public hearing he will work with WDVA to draft an amendment to significantly narrow the scope of the bill.

UW System Position

AMEND:  This bill would greatly broaden the definition of eligible veterans by adding new qualifying criteria to the program.  Current law limits eligibility to the spouse, child or un-remarried surviving spouse of state veterans who died either in the line of duty or from a service connected disability or who has a service connected disability or disabilities with a combined rating of 30%.  This bill provides an additional eligibility path based on a veteran’s years of state residency.

Unless amended, UW System cannot estimate the significant additional costs which might be incurred by such an expansion of the program.

According to Federal VA estimates there are approximately 448,000 veterans in Wisconsin (as of 2007).  It is uncertain how many of those eligible would have dependants planning to attend college under and qualify for tuition fee remissions.

Further, if the amount of GPR funding needed to replace the estimated lost tuition revenue was not available or allocated, tuition would increase for other students, or services and teaching for veterans and non-veteran students alike would be reduced.