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Senate votes to keep students as fund source for veteran tuition

Published: Thursday, November 1, 2012

Updated: Thursday, November 1, 2012 01:11

Amid the different costs to attend Texas A&M, one in particular is being brought up for reconsideration.

The Hazlewood Act, a bill that provides qualified veterans, their spouses and dependent children with an educational benefit at Texas public colleges and universities, has caused an unsettling among some students.

With assistance from Hazlewood, qualified veterans receive exemption from up to 150 hours of tuition and major fee charges. The tuition and fees of current students at the universities fund the veteran’s tuitions.

Texas A&M Student Senate voted on a bill Wednesday that requested for a re-evaluation of the Hazlewood Act in order for it to become funded through the state and not through the students of Texas A&M.

“We want the state to know we can’t keep shouldering the burden of paying for [veteran’s] tuition,” said Brody Smith, senior history major. “We need to make sure programs that support veterans are not detrimental to students in any way.”

Student Senate voted the Hazlewood Act Bill down.

“The state needs to find alternative means of funding,” Smith said. “State dollars, donors or other sources that won’t take away money that could be spent on the

Because the Hazlewood Act is state legislation, Taylor Sessions, senior agricultural economics major, said he feels that it is not the students’ place to provide funding for it.

“The Hazlewood Act is a state legislation bill but it is not funded by the state,” Sessions said. “So it’s putting a tax on the University.”

Although some students say this takes away from what other University expenditures, veterans who are current students at A&M feel different about the legislation.

Josh Melendez, junior accounting major, is a Marine Corps veteran who served from November 2005 to November 2009 and has taken advantage of the opportunity provided to him by the Hazelwood Act.

“Being blessed with the Hazlewood Act is what you look forward to,” Melendez said. “When you’re away you think about when you get back home and how you want to be a better person. The Hazlewood Act is going to help you and help better your education.”

Melendez said he feels that the legislation should continue to help those who return to school after serving their country.

“If it were taken away that would be devastating,” Melendez said. “It’s something we look forward to. It’s something we’ve earned. We are individuals who have protected your freedom.”

Melendez said with so many fees that students pay and don’t take advantage of, it makes them seem hypocritical,
“They’re okay with paying for so many things, but can’t pay for this,” Melendez said. “They’re okay with paying to upkeep Kyle Field and Reed Arena and for the [Student Recreation Center] that they might not use, but not this.”

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