Education bills honor veterans

Mike McLane

Rep. Mike McLane

The freedoms that we enjoy as U.S. citizens are due largely to the sacrifices made by our military veterans. Because of that, it’s important that we honor them and ensure their smooth transition back into civilian life when they have concluded their service.

We took a big step toward that with the passage of House Bill 2158. This bill enables veterans to be eligible for in-state tuition at Oregon colleges.

HB 2158 passed the House on a 59-0 vote April 18. It then headed over to the Senate, where it was approved 28-0 on June 10. Two days later, the House concurred in the Senate amendments and re-passed the bill unanimously.

Our efforts to improve education access don’t stop there, though. We’ve been working on another bill, HB 3272, that would create a tuition forgiveness program to promote degrees in science, technology, engineering and math.

The program would be available for up to 500 Oregon high school graduates who have a GPA of 3.8 or higher and score in the top 10 percent of their class on 11th-grade evaluations.

Students would have to maintain a 3.0 GPA or higher in college, complete their degree in a STEM field in five years or less and work within Oregon for no less than 36 of the 48 months following graduation. They would also give back to their community by volunteering in STEM-related service programs.

Although an attempted vote on HB 3272 was blocked, I will keep working to bring it to passage.

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