TOPEKA — Early this month, Gov. Laura Kelly signed a bill that would amend the Kansas National Guard Educational Assistance act to remove the current requirement that any eligible guard member must have at least one year remaining on his or her enlistment contract at the beginning of any semester that they’ll receive tuition assistance.
At the committee meetings, Lt. Col. Dana W. Graf testified in favor of the House Bill 2123 on behalf of the Kansas Adjutant General’s Department. Graf said that members of the Army National Guard can reenlist 365 days before the end of their enlistment, whereas members of the Air National Guard can only reenlist 90 days before that.
“[They] would be forced to choose between signing a one-year extension to participate in state tuition assistance and forgoing a semester or two in the program to get themselves in the 90-day window to reenlist for a longer term,” Graf said.
On the bill’s fiscal note, the Kansas Adjutant General’s Department reported that the bill would not increase the number of eligible guard members for tuition assistance. Rather, the bill would fix “an unintended consequence.”
HB 2123 was unanimously passed by the House and the Senate.
Now that it has been approved, the bill will be effective July 1, 2019, after publication in the statute book.
Angel Tran is a University of Kansas senior from Wichita majoring in journalism.