Newswise — Two University of Arkansas at Little Rock students and their advisor recently attended the signing of a bill into law that entitles military and their dependents in-state tuition, regardless of residence.

Tanya Dent-Lemley, president of UALR Students Affected by the Military (SAM) and David Carnahan, vice president of SAM, joined UALR Military Ombudsman Kathy Oliverio and others for the bill’s signing on April 9.

SAM The bill became Act 1266 after it was signed into law by Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson. The discount applies to all state-supported institutions of higher education, trade schools, or vocational schools.

UALR has been on the forefront of supporting its military students by charging in-state tuition and limited fees, according to Olivero, who said the new legislation positions Arkansas as a prime state for military members seeking to further their education.

“Arkansas is now only one of only a few states in the country that allows military students, no matter where in the world they are stationed, as well as their dependents, to receive in-state tuition,” she said.

UALR Department of Criminal Justice faculty member Dr. Julie Baldwin provided data to help justify the necessity for the bill.

“I am excited to see such progress in advocating for veteran's needs. This legislation shows that Arkansas truly cares about its veterans,” said Dent-Lemley.

“This act provides so many opportunities to veterans who would have gone elsewhere to receive their education. Arkansas' movement toward becoming more military friendly speaks volumes and I'm proud to have been a part of it,” said Carnahan.

Since its inception in August 2009, the Post 9/11 GI Bill has helped 773,000 veterans and family members.

In Arkansas alone, over 9,000 veterans and dependents used their benefits last year, which does not include thousands of active duty personnel currently serving and using tuition assistance instead of veteran-related educational benefits.

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