2007 Regular Session
To: Universities and Colleges; Appropriations
By: Senator(s) Carmichael, King
AN ACT TO PROVIDE TUITION FEE WAIVERS FOR VETERANS' DEPENDENTS; TO DEFINE CERTAIN TERMS; TO PROVIDE THE CRITERIA FOR THE TUITION FEE WAIVERS; TO PROHIBIT ANY DEPENDENT FROM RECEIVING BENEFITS UNDER THIS ACT DURING THE TIME HE IS ENTITLED TO RECEIVE DUPLICATE ASSISTANCE FROM ANY OTHER GOVERNMENT SOURCE; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. As used in this act:
(a) "Veterans" means:
(i) Any person who served in the Army, Navy or Marine Corps of the United States and was killed in action or died as a result of war service in World War I since April 6, 1917;
(ii) Any member of the Army, Navy, Coast Guard or Marine Corps of the United States, or any of their auxiliaries, including, but not limited to, the Philippine Commonwealth Army, the Regular Scouts ("Old Scouts"), and the Special Philippine Scouts ("New Scouts"), who was killed in action in World War II on or after December 7, 1941, and prior to January 1, 1947, or who died at any time as a result of war service during such period;
(iii) Any member of the Armed Forces of the United States who was killed in action during a period of hostilities in which the United States is engaged, or who died or was totally disabled at any time as a result of active service during any such period or during the induction period; or
(iv) Any person who, at the time of entry into the Armed Forces of the United States was a resident of the state and was subsequently declared by the United States government to be missing in action, captured in the line of duty by hostile forces, or forcibly detained or interned in the line of duty by a foreign government or power.
(b) "Department" means the Mississippi Department of Veterans Affairs.
(c) "Dependent of a veteran" means the natural or adopted child of a veteran, or stepchild of a veteran as defined by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs for compensation purposes, the unmarried surviving spouse of a veteran, or the spouse of a totally disabled veteran.
(d) "Induction period" means (i) the period beginning September 16, 1940, and ending December 6, 1941, and the period beginning January 1, 1947, and ending June 26, 1950, and (ii) the period beginning on February 1, 1955, and ending on the day before the first day thereafter on which individuals (other than individuals liable for induction by reason of a prior deferment) are no longer liable for induction for training and service into the armed forces under the federal Universal Military Training and Service Act.
SECTION 2. (a) A dependent of a veteran applying for aid under this act shall be over the age of fourteen (14) or shall have entered the ninth grade, and shall be a native of or shall have lived in this state for five (5) of the nine (9) years immediately preceding the date that the application is filed.
(b) Any dependent of a veteran who has attained eligibility pursuant to this act while under twenty-one (21) years of age may continue to receive the benefits of this act until the needed training is completed or until he or she attains the age of twenty-seven (27) years, whichever first occurs.
(c) The eligibility limitations of paragraph (b) shall not apply to the spouse or dependent widow of a veteran. However, the spouse or dependent widow of a veteran shall be limited to not more than forty-eight (48) months, or full-time training, or the equivalent thereof in part-time training.
(d) Notwithstanding the eligibility limitations of paragraph (b), a dependent who has honorably served in the Armed Forces of the United States may be granted an extension of training through the age of thirty (30) years.
(e) The eligibility limitations of paragraphs (a) and (b) shall not apply to the dependent of a veteran as defined in subparagraph (iv) of paragraph (a) of Section 1 of this act.
SECTION 3. A dependent of a veteran who desires to continue his education may apply to the Department of Veterans Affairs. If in the opinion of the department the educational needs of the applicant can be satisfactorily met in educational institutions in this state or elsewhere, the department shall assume state wardship over the education of the applicant. The department may provide educational counsel for applicants and assist them in securing admission to suitable institutions of learning. Tuition may be paid at private schools only when suitable opportunity is not available in public or semi-public institutions.
SECTION 4. The Department of Veterans Affairs, insofar as funds permit, may provide:
(a) For the payment of tuition and other fees.
(b) For the monthly payment of an allowance for books, supplies and living expenses of the student. Qualified applicants may claim their first monthly allowance upon completion of school registration and the department is authorized to establish a revolving fund if necessary to expedite payment.
SECTION 5. For students of collegiate, community college, business and trade school rank, the amount expended by the department as an allowance for living expenses shall not exceed One Hundred Dollars ($100.00) per month. Dependents enrolled in the fifth year of any course requiring five (5) years may be considered to be at the undergraduate level. For students of high school rank, the amount shall not exceed Fifty Dollars ($50.00) per month during the time the student is in actual attendance at a day school. Absence during the month on account of illness shall be included as attendance.
SECTION 6. The Department of Veterans Affairs shall consider applications in the order in which they are received. If the funds available are insufficient to meet the obligations which would arise from the guardianship of all worthy applicants, the department shall assume wardship over the applicants who are most urgently in need of further education, taking into consideration both scholastic achievement and financial need.
SECTION 7. No dependent of a veteran, as defined in subparagraph (i), (ii) or (iii) of paragraph (a) of Section 1 of this act, shall be eligible to receive the benefits of this act during the time that he is entitled to receive federal educational benefits under Chapter 35, Title 38, United States Code, as amended, or duplicate assistance from any other government source.
SECTION 8. Upon application to the department by a dependent of a veteran as defined in subparagraph (iv) of paragraph (a) of Section 1 of this act, the department shall reimburse such person for the costs of tuition and fees incurred by such person at a public or private educational institution.
SECTION 9. The Department of Veterans Affairs may promulgate any rules and regulations necessary to carry out the purposes of this act.
SECTION 10. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2007.