Gov. Bobby Jindal is pushing two pieces of legislation that aim to help veterans and military students earn college degrees in Louisiana, he announced Thursday.
One bill, sponsored by state Rep. Henry Burns, R-Haughton, would establish the “Governor’s Veterans Friendly Campus Designation” for colleges that implement a list of support measures for student veterans.
“This legislation will provide our men and women in uniform, who have sacrificed so much for you and me, an opportunity to enter into a competitive workforce by giving them credit for the knowledge and training that they have acquired while serving in the military,” he said in a statement on the latest bill. “I want to encourage and congratulate all of our higher education campuses for taking this initiative to qualify as a Vet’s Campus. Its time has come.”
To earn the VETS Campus designation, schools would have to create special orientation and recruitment programs tailored to veterans, as well as workshops, policies and other support services.
The other bill Jindal’s backing would help streamline the transfer of credits to Louisiana colleges from accredited schools that contract with the Department of Defense to teach on military bases around the world.
“Veterans are a huge asset to our state. Making sure these heroes have access to veteran-friendly campuses and easily transferable credits is of vital importance. We owe them a debt of gratitude, and this legislation will improve the lives of returning service men and women,” said state Sen. Ben Nevers, a Bogalusa Democrat who will be sponsoring the “Military Articulation Matrix Bill.”
The legislative session starts April 13 and ends June 11.
According to information from those states, several universities and community colleges already have implemented the steps needed to earn their veteran-friendly designations, including the University of Memphis and the University of Iowa.
Jindal said the legislation will make campuses more friendly to students as they head to college following military service.
“In the face of great peril, and asking for nothing in return, these courageous men and women put their lives on the line in the name of freedom,” he said in a statement. “With these two bills, we continue to express our appreciation to our country’s service men and women by showing our commitment to their educational needs and preparing them to enter the state’s ever-growing workforce.”