Gov. Whitmer Signs Bill Extending Tuition Assistance to National Guard Family Members

May 21, 2023
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer visits Michigan National Guard soldiers in Latvia.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed a bill to give tuition assistance benefits to spouses and dependents of National Guard members Saturday.

House Bill 4199 expands eligibility for tuition assistance to National Guard members’ family members and increases the funding cap from $10 million to $15 million.

The Michigan National Guard Tuition Assistance Program provides financial assistance for service members attending any public or private college, university, vocational school, technical school, or trade school located in Michigan.

“The program offers members of the guard tuition assistance, so they can pursue higher education or skills training at a lower cost. But we know that next to every member of the Guard is a family: an invaluable support system that makes countless sacrifices,” Whitmer said.

“Today’s overwhelmingly bipartisan bill … is going to allow spouses and dependents of Guard members to utilize tuition assistance benefits,” she said. “Getting this done will open doors for so many more people to get on paths to higher education and good-paying, in-demand jobs without a lifetime of debt.”

State lawmakers, Michigan National Guard members and their families were present for the signing and expansion of the program Saturday at the MotorCity Casino in Detroit.

The bill was introduced by state Rep. Jennifer Conlin who said in a release that the law will fulfill multiple purposes.

“With the signing of HB 4199 into law, National Guard families in Michigan will have the flexibility to use the educational benefits that they have earned,” Conlin said. “The law will fulfill a dual purpose: directly providing opportunities to service member spouses and dependents and tackling the challenge of recruitment and retention head-on through the offering of this incentive.”

“Since the program’s inception, over 6,000 guard members have benefited from MINGSTAP and now thousands of eligible spouses and dependents will have the same opportunity to earn a tuition-free degree or professional certificate,” U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Paul D. Rogers, adjutant general and director of the Michigan Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, said in the release.

“Today’s announcement by Gov. Whitmer signals Michigan is serious about supporting military families who have made significant sacrifices on behalf of our state and nation.”

The National Guard also presented Whitmer with the Charles Dick Medal of Merit, an award designed to recognize the contributions to the National Guard by elected representatives to legislative bodies at the state and national levels.

“The Michigan National Guard is one of the finest military forces in America,” Whitmer said. “In last year’s bipartisan budget we secured over $55 million dollars so that we could modernize our armories, showing our military readiness, and supporting good-paying local construction jobs in the process.”

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