PHOENIX — Gov. Doug Ducey went to the headquarters of the Arizona National Guard on Monday to publicize a provision in the budget restoring tuition assistance to citizen soldiers.
The governor used the opportunity, a week before Veterans Day, to promote the fact that there is $1 million in funding for the tuition reimbursement program which was scrapped a decade ago during the Great Recession. Ducey made the formal announcement in front of soldiers who were assembled to stand in front of the oldest building on the military base.
He also had a brief roundtable discussion with several soldiers who each talked about their educational goals as well as why they joined the Guard in the first place.
The $1 million set aside in the budget does not provide up-front assistance. Instead, it is available to Guard members on a reimbursement basis after completing at least a semester as a full- or part-time undergraduate or graduate student at a college, community college or university for which credit toward a degree is granted. Also eligible are program which result in a certificate from a vocational or technical school or a correspondence course qualified by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
Eligible Guard members can get $250 per credit hour, up to $4,000 in any one year.
There are some other requirements, including to have been active drilling members of the Arizona National Guard through the entire semester or course for which reimbursement is sought. And students have to maintain an average grade of C for each course.
“Because of these heroes, Americans can live in security, safety and peace,’’ Ducey said in remarks to assembled Guard members. “Arizona is grateful to everyone who serves in the National Guard.’’
He said reinstating the tuition reimbursement program is a way to express the state’s gratitude.
“Our message is simply this: If you choose to serve in the Arizona National Guard we will stand behind you at home and abroad, today and into the future.’’