Local & Regional
9:17 am
Tue March 26, 2013

A New Oklahoma GI Bill for Newly Disabled Vets

State Representative Pat Ownbey discusses his bill before a House Sub-Committee.
State Representative Pat Ownbey discusses his bill before a House Sub-Committee.
Credit State House

  Legislation that would allow some 100-percent disabled veterans and their immediate family members to receive a tuition-free higher education was approved today in a budget subcommittee of the Oklahoma House of Representatives.

Senate Bill 486, by state Sen. Frank Simpson and state Rep. Pat Ownbey, would allow 100-percent disabled veterans injured after the Sept. 11, 2001 attack and their families to attend any state-supported technology center school or any state higher education institution without paying tuition or fees. The families of military members killed in action or in the line of duty after Sept. 11, 2001 would also be eligible.

The legislation was approved in the House Appropriations and Budget Subcommittee on Higher Education and now advances to the full House Appropriations and Budget Committee.

“This is an important measure that lets our disabled veterans and their families know that we recognize their tremendous sacrifice and we are here to help them,” said Simpson, R-Springer. “It also lets those families whose loved one made the supreme sacrifice know that we have not forgotten about them.”

“These individuals have made a great sacrifice on behalf of our country,” said Ownbey, R-Ardmore. “This bill basically says we are going to ensure they and their families have access to higher education in Oklahoma.”

The bill requires children of 100-percent disabled veterans to enroll prior to turning 21 in order to be eligible and also makes United States Department of Veteran Affairs Post 9/11 G.I. Bill students eligible for in-state tuition.