ARTICLE 9 SUBSTITUTE A
Relating To Education Benefits for National Guard Members
SECTION 1. Section 30-3-40.3 of the General Laws in Chapter 30-3 entitled “National Guard” is hereby amended to read as follows:
30-3-40.3. Educational benefits for National Guard members. – (a) Any person who is an active member in good standing of the Rhode Island National Guard, and who is eligible to attend at any state college or university in Rhode Island, will be eligible for a tuition assistance educational benefit amounting to five (5) courses per semester at any Rhode Island state college or university. Basic tuition or general fee charges to be waived for said five (5) courses. Each of the state colleges or universities shall receive an equal share of the educational account funding for Rhode Island National Guard members, the account to be administered by the office of the adjutant general. The exact amount for each institution shall be determined by the board of governors. The total amount of funds in the education account shall not exceed one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000) in any fiscal year.
(b) In order to be eligible for tuition waivers a person must remain a member in good standing in the Rhode Island National Guard and a student in good standing at any state college or university. A member in good standing is defined as any soldier or airperson of the Rhode Island National Guard who is currently satisfactorily participating in all unit training assemblies and annual training periods, as so certified by the adjutant general.
(c) Those guard members wishing to participate in this program must enter into a contractual enlistment commitment which provides for one year of obligated service in the Rhode Island National Guard for each twelve (12) course credits or four (4) three (3) credit courses where the soldiers' or airpersons' tuition will be waived. Such assistance shall be available for courses creditable to associate, bachelor's, or master's degrees. Failure to satisfactorily fulfill the service obligation incurred in return for tuition assistance will require the participant to repay a pro-rata share of said assistance. This obligation shall be considered to be a debt owed to the state and may be satisfied by offset against any state transfer payments or state income tax refunds. The participating member shall reimburse the Rhode Island National Guard when any of the following occur: the soldier fails to participate satisfactorily as a member of the Rhode Island National Guard; the soldier withdraws from or fails to complete a course for personal reasons; the soldier fails to make up an incomplete grade within time limits stipulated by the institution or one hundred twenty (120) days after the completion of the class, whichever occurs first, or the soldier fails to provide the adjutant general a copy of the grade report within thirty (30) days of course completion and may be subject to punishment under the Rhode Island Military Code.
SECTION 2. This article shall take effect as of July 1, 2007.