A bill that would modify the highly anticipated Tennessee Promise scholarship to benefit students entering the military passed swiftly and without objection through the state Senate Monday afternoon.
Senate Bill 56, by state Sen. Mark Green, R-Clarksville, “really cleans up some language for folks in the military,” allowing high school students who opt to enter military training after their senior year, rather than going straight to college, to participate in the last-dollar scholarship, which goes into effect with this year’s graduating class.
As Tennessee Promise stands, one of the requirements for eligibility is that the student enters college in the fall semester immediately after graduating high school. Green’s bill would amend that language so that members of the National Guard or a reserve unit in a branch of the armed forces, who cannot adhere to this schedule because of training or deployment obligations, could participate in the scholarship afterwards.
“Often times soldiers or high school students go to basic training between their junior and senior year,” Green said before the Senate Education subcommittee Feb. 18, “Advanced individual training occurs after their senior year. But they’re in the Guard, and they’ll want to come back and go to school…this just cleans that scenario up and allows them to come back and be a part of Tennessee Promise.”
As a “last-dollar” scholarship, Tennessee Promise would supplement money from programs like the GI bill.
“Many of those students, based on what they enlist for in the Guard or the regular army…if they were able to do Tennessee Promise, would have a lot of options available to them,” Green said.
The bill’s House companion, was filed by Democratic Clarksville Representative Joe Pitts.
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