WI Rep. wants to improve vets tuition benefits - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

WI Rep. wants to improve vets tuition benefits

MADISON (WKOW)-- A Wisconsin lawmaker plans to introduce a proposal to improve state tuition benefits for veterans studying at Wisconsin universities and technical colleges.

More than a thousand veterans are taking college-level classes throughout Madison.

Vets say it's confusing to figure out what tuition benefits they're eligible for: even more so, this semester.

When lawmakers passed the state budget this summer, they included a provision that vets have to take federal Post 9/11 Benefits before they're eligible for Wisconsin GI Bill benefits.

Student advisors for veterans at both UW-Madison and Madison College say that's creating some confusion.

They say when a veteran uses their federal benefits for credits at a Wisconsin public college, their Wisconsin GI Bill credits (vets receive 128 credits, or 8 semesters) are also subtracted at the same time.

Here's the loophole: if a student would go to a private school, or an out-of-state school, they wouldn't use their Wisconsin benefits at all: and could potentially withhold that money, to go to grad school on those credits.

John Bechtol, UW Madison Assistant Dean of Students says, "I'm certain that's not the intent, but it's a second order effect, that they can preserve credits with the Wisconsin bill if they just don't go to a UW school to begin with."

That's why Republican State Representative Kevin Petersen says he's introducing a new bill that would give veterans the option, once again, to use either the federal benefits or the state benefits.

An aide of Petersen's says they're hoping to keep Wisconsin veterans in the state.

Online Reporter: Pam Warnke 

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