The South Carolina Senate passed a bill Tuesday that would make it easier for servicemen and women to continue taking college courses while in the military. State Sen. Darrell Jackson (R-Columbia) said he wants to make sure South Carolinians stationed outside the state or overseas are still able to pay lower, in-state tuition rates for online courses.
“Oftentimes, when they’re deployed and they go other places, their eligibility for tuition goes away,” Jackson said, “This provides an opportunity for them… to still take courses.”
The bill next heads to the House of Representatives.
Jackson said he was approached by the University of South Carolina about a “loophole” in state law that, while it did grant in-state tuition for children of active-duty service members, it did not grant the same privilege for the soldiers themselves seeking to take distance-learning courses.
It also expands the definition of “active-duty military personnel” to include members of the National Guard and reservists.
Jackson said the vote shows that South Carolina honors the commitment of military service members, “It also says we want to give them every opportunity so that they would not suffer… being uprooted, going somewhere else,” he said, “And it gives them an opportunity to further their education.”
The legislation would also give colleges the power to offer lower rates for military personnel, if they so choose.