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Vermont National Guard Public Affairs
Vermont National Guard members will have access to more 100% tuition benefits following the passage and signing of HR 517 on May 9.
Members will now receive full tuition benefit at any in-state college institution for undergraduate or graduate degrees at the University of Vermont resident rate.
“We really appreciate the support the legislature has shown with the passage of these tuition benefits,” said Maj. Gen. Greg Knight, Vermont National Guard Adjutant General. “The new benefits will set us apart from what all other states in the region offer and will allow us to grow a more educated and professional work force.”
The original 100% tuition benefit for Guard members covered all tuition at in-state schools for a single baccalaureate degree up to the Northern Vermont University rate, $11,592 in 2022. This new legislation adds a second baccalaureate and a master’s degree at the increased rate of up to $16,392.
“I made a color-coded spreadsheet of the education benefits offered by each state,” said Staff Sgt. Claire Johnson, Army aviation flight medic. “I decided to move back to the Northeast to be near family in New York and Vermont was a state that offered 100% tuition benefits to Guard members.”
The bill adds eligibility for spouses and dependents of active duty service members stationed in Vermont to receive in-state tuition rates immediately upon taking up residence in the state. It also includes the designation of Purple Star Campuses for college institutions that demonstrate particular support for military service members and their dependents.
Military service qualifies members for numerous education related benefits to include credentialing assistance and student loan forgiveness. Military service members qualified as medics, transportation specialists or other vocational positions can use their training to bypass apprenticeship requirements and receive funding relief to cover licensure testing.
HR 517 also creates new qualifications potential candidates must meet in order to run for the Vermont National Guard Adjutant and Inspector General position. Vermont is the only state where the legislature elects the Adjutant General, in all other states the position is selected by Governor appointment.
Candidates for the position must now have attained the rank of Colonel (O-6) or above, must currently serve with the armed forces or be eligible to return to active federal service, must have graduated from the Senior Service College, and must be eligible for federal recognition.
“The Vermont National Guard caucus also worked with the committees to shift the election for the adjutant general to the second year of the biennium,” said Knight. “This gives us a year to help new legislators learn more about the Vermont National Guard and how it operates before they must make a decision on who should lead the organization.”