House of Representatives

Legislation to Support Student Veterans Approved by House


3/9/2020 4:12:00 PM

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Contact: State Rep. Nicole Miller
Phone: (405) 557-7357

Legislation supporting student veterans passed the Oklahoma House of Representatives in the morning session.

House Bill 1907, authored by Rep. Nicole Miller (R-Edmond), requires all institutions in the Oklahoma State System of Higher Education to give priority enrollment and course registration to students who are active members of the military and to students who are eligible to receive educational financial assistance from the U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs.

“Oklahoma’s student veterans work toward academically rigorous degree that align with the demands of our workforce demands,” Miller said. “They served our country bravely, and any way we can help make their lives easier while they pursue higher education should be considered.”

Early enrollment and course registration would allow student veterans to enroll in their classes ahead of the general student population, a privilege already some colleges already grant to student athletes and honors students.

Currently 9,780 student veterans attend Oklahoma institutions of higher education. Since 2009, Oklahoma’s student veterans have contributed $1.3 billion to higher education through VA Education benefits. Each Oklahoma student veteran, on average, contributes $10,765 to their respective higher education institution.

Approximately 77 percent of Oklahoma student veterans attend public institutions, one of the highest rates in the nation. Oklahoma’s student veterans have a higher retention rate than their non-veteran peers.

Student veterans have higher academic performance measures compared to their student peers. Oklahoma’s student veterans are also twice as likely to pursue STEM-related degrees as the national average and are better-prepared to pursue STEM fields in the workforce.

Miller said the bill was requested by the State Dept. of Veterans Affairs.

House Bill 1907 passed with a vote of 83 – 0. It is authored in the Senate by Sen. Stephanie Bice (R-Oklahoma City).