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Aid veterans’ education fully

In the years that followed World War II, America seized the opportunity to create a more productive workforce by sending its veterans to college on the GI Bill. It proved to be a smart investment. The Greatest Generation, as it’s come to be known, propelled our country to lead in almost every facet of life. In fact, that generation took us to the Moon.

Today, with a decade of war winding down, we have another opportunity. Here in Iowa, we are seeing an ever-increasing number of veterans using the new post-911 GI Bill to go to college. Among other benefits, this GI Bill covers the cost of resident tuition. In order to help our nonresident veterans, our regent institutions give veterans eligible for the post-911 GI Bill residency status for the purpose of tuition for undergraduate college. While this is a wonderful thing to do, I believe it needs to be expanded to cover our graduate and professional colleges as well.

For those who would oppose this move, citing revenue loss, let me just point out a few inconvenient facts. First of all, our graduate and professional colleges do not set resident tuition at a level that constitutes a loss. If they did, our universities would have gone out of business long ago. Second, the number of students that this would affect is fairly small. The five-year stats showing the number of nonresident veterans going to a University of Iowa graduate or professional college was 30 in the fall of 2012.

In terms of perceived revenue loss, this is a drop in the bucket. The reward for extending resident tuition to this population is high. If we want to attract highly educated and productive citizens to our state, this is one way to achieve that. It is time for our legislature to amend 681 1.4(2) of the Iowa Administrative Code and allow nonresident veterans to have resident tuition rates for the graduate and professional colleges.

David Johnson
West Branch resident

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