In-state tuition for AmeriCorps participants advanced

Certain AmeriCorp participants would be eligible for in-state tuition at Nebraska higher education institutions under a bill advanced from general file March 23.

Sen. Tony Vargas
Sen. Tony Vargas

Under LB197, as introduced by Omaha Sen. Tony Vargas, a student who completes a full term of service of at least one year in Nebraska as an AmeriCorps participant would be considered a resident for tuition purposes at Nebraska postsecondary educational institutions.

When AmeriCorps volunteers complete their term of service, Vargas said, they receive an award to pay for postsecondary education. He said making those individuals eligible for in-state tuition would encourage more of them to study and later work in Nebraska.

“We should be bringing those dollars to our local colleges and universities and … mak[ing] our state a destination spot for volunteers after their service is completed,” Vargas said.

Under an Education Committee amendment, adopted 33-0, a student who is qualified for an AmeriCorps award would be eligible for in-state tuition.

Vargas said the amendment eliminates the requirement that AmeriCorps participants complete their terms of service in Nebraska, increasing the number of volunteers who would be eligible for in-state tuition.

Sen. Mark Kolterman of Seward supported LB197, calling it a “no-brainer” that would benefit Nebraska’s economy by encouraging young people to live here.

Lawmakers voted 35-0 to advance the bill to select file.

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