Local rep sponsors bill to keep tuition low for deployed soldiers

aspecht@newsobserver.comJune 4, 2013 

— A House bill scheduled for review in the Senate this week waives out-of-state tuition fees for soldiers who want to reenroll at a North Carolina community college after being deployed or transferred out of state.

Rep. Chris Malone, a Wake Forest Republican who represents most of eastern Wake, is a co-sponsor of the bill. Many of Malone’s coworkers at his office in Wake Forest are military veterans familiar with the difficulties of staying enrolled in school after being deployed.

“If soldiers had to withdraw because they were out on deployment and now live somewhere else, they should be allowed to continue to get in-state tuition,” Malone said. “For me, it was an easy call (to sponsor the bill.)”

According to Rep. John Szoka, a Fayetteville Republican and another co-sponsor of the bill, current laws don’t allow for local community colleges to waive out-of-state tuition fees for soldiers who leave the state and try to reenroll.

As many as 5,000 soldiers stationed at Fort Bragg enroll at Fayetteville Tech each semester, Szoka said. But, after they transfer to military bases in other states, many of them end up completing their degrees elsewhere because it’s cheaper, he said.

Out-of-state tuition rates at N.C. community colleges are $11 more per credit hour than in-state tuition rates. A ten-spot and some pocket change may not sound like a lot, Szoka admitted. But, consider that most classes count for three-or-four credit hours, “and you see why (Fayetteville Technical Community College) thought it was an important enough issue to ask me to do something about it,” Szoka said.

Specht: 919-829-4826

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