Priority college admission for service members advanced

State higher education institutions would give priority to certain uniformed service members when they apply for admission under a bill advanced from the first round of debate April 20.

Sen. Tony Vargas
Sen. Tony Vargas

LB669, as introduced by Omaha Sen. Tony Vargas, would require each Nebraska postsecondary institution to accept automatically any eligible military or veteran student who applies to enroll as an undergraduate in virtual and in-person courses and programs.

Vargas said the bill would make postsecondary education more accessible to service members and veterans.

An Education Committee amendment, adopted 44-0, would require public postsecondary institutions to accept military and veteran students if they otherwise meet admissions requirements. Fremont Sen. Lynne Walz, the committee’s chairperson, said the amendment also would better define who is eligible for the program.

Under the amendment, a student who graduates from a Nebraska high school on or after Jan. 1, 2022, signs enlistment papers to serve in a uniformed service and meets other requirements related to the length of their service would be eligible.

Nebraska high school graduates and individuals who graduate from high school in another state on or after Jan. 1, 2022, and served in a uniformed service while assigned to a location in Nebraska also would qualify if they received an honorable discharge from a uniformed service.

The amendment also would require each public postsecondary institution to post information about the act on its website and submit an annual report to the Legislature stating the number of eligible students enrolled and other information.

Senators voted 44-0 to advance LB669 to select file.

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