New House Bill Gives State National Guard Tuition Assistance

Those serving in the Michigan National Guard are getting a little bit of help to pay their college tuition.

Governor Snyder signed a bill today that gives a new state grant to soldiers and officers in the Army and Air National Guard.

Officers at Camp Grayling in Crawford County say it will lift a heavy financial burden from their shoulders.

The new financial boost gives $4,500 to soldiers for their education.

Now those in the Michigan National Guard say they have a little breathing room in terms of paying for college.

“The impact is huge in that, now, there’s no real excuse for a soldier to not be able to get a degree,” said Major Michael Zultak, who also is attending Central Michigan University while working on his Master’s Degree.

With the help of House Bill 5451, which the governor signed, it’ll be easier for him and other national guard soldiers to stay in their own state and afford their education.

“We’ve actually had soldiers that I’m aware of who have left the Michigan National Guard and have gone to, say, the Ohio National Guard so they could get their tuition benefit,” said Col. Erich Randall of Camp Grayling.

The new grant money brings Michigan even with benefits other states provide soldiers, who work hard to be ready when called to defend their country.

“Here at the Michigan Army National Guard, we have a lot of soldiers who…they are part-time soldiers so they are here drilling two days and then two months in the summer,” Zultak said.

Until this morning, Michigan was one of six that didn’t have state tuition assistance for the National Guard.

That’s changed to the tune of fo$4,500 a year.

“That’s a lot of tuition,” Randall said. “That’s several classes, depending on which one it is.”

The new grant helps soldiers immediately upon signing up for the National Guard as long as they are in “good standing.”