In a testimony before state senators yesterday, University student veterans pushed for the state to charge veterans who attend public universities in Michigan in-state tuition rates no matter where they are from originally.

The proposal — which was put forth by members of national student organization Student Veterans of America — aims to take advantage of a stipulation in the G.I. Bill that was passed last year. The bill states that the federal government will pay the cost of in-state tuition for any veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In Lansing yesterday, student veterans made the argument that by passing their proposal, the federal money allocated in the GI Bill will be pumped in Michigan’s ailing economy.

“By encouraging all veterans to pursue their educations in our state, we will ensure the training necessary for the workforce of Michigan’s future, all on the federal government’s dime,” wrote LSA senior Carl Ireland, wrote in the proposal. Ireland is the legislative director of SVA’s Michigan chapter.

The five-point proposal included in-state tuition for all student veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, providing on-campus services for veterans to help with the transition from active duty to campus life, increased credit transfers from military training and a relaxation of application deadlines and fees for veterans.

By providing in-state tuition rates to student veterans, the proposal, hopes to encourage a greater number of student veterans to apply to Michigan public universities, routing the federal money available for student veteran tuition into Michigan’s economy.

In an interview after the hearing, Co-founder and President of Student Veterans of America Derek Blumke, an LSA senior, discussed the importance of auditing credit transfers for military training, which is included in the proposal and is something that the University currently does not allow.

“Things like the leadership training we’ve received in military training seem like they should transfer,” he said. “Leadership is something that the University of Michigan prides itself on.”

Blumke stated that the main purpose of the proposal is to ease the shift from active duty to university life for student veterans. He added that the bill will aid Michigan’s economy by attracting student veterans to the state to attend school.

“We want to help our friends come home and not have to deal with the obstacles that we’ve had to face,” Blumke said. “We want to help them make a smooth transition to college and help the Michigan economy at the same time.”

Michigan Student Assembly President Abhishek Mahanti attended the Senate hearing in Lansing to support the student veterans’ proposal. Mahanti, an Engineering junior, expressed his desire to encourage veterans to attend the University, as well as the University’s need to accommodate student veterans.

“There is a need for student veterans on campus and a need to make them feel welcome,” he said. “These are the people who will be our future politicians and the leaders of our nation because of their service to the country.”

After returning from Lansing, Mahanti and Blumke said they both had an overwhelmingly positive feeling about the proposal hearing.

From an observer’s standpoint, Mahanti noted the student veterans’ preparedness and organization as a strong point to the proposal hearing.

“They laid it all out for the senators to just take under their wing,” he said.

Blumke was also encouraged by the meeting and said he hopes to see the proposal realized by August of this year.

“I don’t think it could have gone any better,” he said. “The state senators were all really supportive and wanted to know more about what universities we’re approaching.”

Blumke isn’t new to Lansing, he’s testified there before in hopes of getting the G.I. Gill passed.

According to statistics in the proposal, the University currently ranks ninth in the Big Ten in the number of student veterans enrolled in classes, with only 48 enrolled at the University.

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