2007 Regular Session
To: Universities and Colleges; Appropriations
By: Representative Staples
AN ACT TO PROVIDE FOR THE WAIVER OF TUITION AT THE STATE INSTITUTIONS OF HIGHER LEARNING AND THE COMMUNITY AND JUNIOR COLLEGES FOR CERTAIN VETERANS OF THE UNITED STATES ARMED FORCES WHO SERVED DURING A PERIOD OF WAR OR ARMED CONFLICT; TO REQUIRE APPLICATIONS FOR A WAIVER TO INCLUDE DOCUMENTATION CONCERNING AN APPLICANT'S MILITARY SERVICE; TO PROVIDE THAT TUITION MAY BE WAIVED FOR BOTH FULL-TIME AND PART-TIME STUDENTS; TO PROVIDE THAT THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF STATE INSTITUTIONS OF HIGHER LEARNING SHALL BE THE ADMINISTERING AGENCY OF THE TUITION WAIVER PROGRAM; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. (1) Beginning with the 2007-2008 academic year, any qualified resident of the State of Mississippi who is an honorably discharged veteran of the United States Armed Forces who served for a period of no less than one (1) year on active duty during a period of war or armed conflict may apply for a waiver of tuition at any state institution of higher learning or public community or junior college in the state.
(2) A qualified veteran who is enrolled in or accepted for enrollment at a state institution of higher learning or a public community or junior college in Mississippi may apply for a waiver of tuition under this section. In order to be eligible, a veteran must have been a resident of the State of Mississippi for no less than four (4) years before being deployed during a period of war or armed conflict. An application must be accompanied by proper proof that the applicant is an honorably discharged veteran of the United States Armed Forces and that the veteran served no less than one (1) year during a period of war or armed conflict.
(3) A waiver of tuition awarded under this section may not exceed the actual cost of tuition at the institution or college at which the veteran is enrolled or accepted for enrollment. For purposes of this section, the term "tuition" means the semester, trimester, quarter or term charges and any fees required of all students as a condition of enrollment; however, the term "tuition" does not include books, housing, food, school supplies, materials, dues or fees for extra-curricular activities. Both full-time and part-time students may apply for a waiver under this section. Students enrolling on a full-time basis may receive a maximum of four (4) annual waivers, and in those instances when a degree program requires five (5) years for completion, five (5) annual waivers. The number of waivers which may be made to a student attending school on a part-time basis may not exceed the length of time required to complete the associate or baccalaureate degree or certificate program toward which the student is working.
(4) As a condition for renewal of a waiver of tuition, a student must make steady academic progress toward a certificate or associate or baccalaureate degree, as certified by the institution's registrar, and must maintain a cumulative grade point average of at least 2.00 calculated on a 4.00 scale at the end of each term.
(5) The Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning and the State Board for Community and Junior Colleges jointly shall promulgate rules and regulations necessary to carry out the purposes of this section, which rules and regulations must prescribe the information that a qualified veteran must present to a state institution or community or junior college to document the veteran's military service. The Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning is the administering agency of the tuition waiver program.
(6) It is the intent of the Legislature that all veterans who are eligible for a waiver of tuition under this section be granted a waiver. If funding at a state institution or community or junior college is insufficient to provide a waiver of tuition for all eligible applicants at that institution or college, the board shall grant the tuition waivers to first-time students on a first-come, first-served basis; however, priority consideration must be given to persons previously receiving waivers under this section who are making steady academic progress toward completion of a certificate program or associate or baccalaureate degree.
SECTION 2. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2007.