Colorado Legislative Council Staff
REVISED NO FISCAL IMPACT
(replaces fiscal impact dated March 10, 1999)
March 25, 1999
Harry Zeid (303-866-4753)
TITLE: CONCERNING TUITION ASSISTANCE FOR MEMBERS OF THE COLORADO NATIONAL GUARD.
Summary of Assessment
Under current law, any person who is a member of the Colorado National Guard, is permitted to pursue studies leading toward a bachelor's degree, a postgraduate degree, an associate degree, or a certificate of completion with at least 50 percent but not more than 75 percent of the cost of in-state tuition paid by the Department of Military Affairs, subject to available appropriations. The tuition payments made or provided by the Department are limited to 132 semester hours or 198 quarters hours for not more than eight years. As amended in the House State Affairs Committee, the bill increases the maximum amount of tuition that may be paid by the Department of Military Affairs from 75 percent to 100 percent of the cost of tuition. The amended bill also gives the Department the ability to prioritize tuition assistance to newly-enlisted members in their first term of service and to those who enlist in military specialties experiencing shortages, as determined by the Department.
The number of students that participate in the Colorado National Guard Tuition Assistance Program varies from year to year. The percentage of tuition assistance fluctuates to accommodate the number of applicants in the program and available funding. During FY 1997-98, 65 percent tuition assistance was awarded to 370 students during the Fall 1997 semester, and 70 percent tuition assistance was awarded to 365 students during the Spring 1998 semester. Sixty students were awarded 75 percent tuition assistance during the Summer of 1997. In FY 1997-98, the Department of Military Affairs received a General Fund appropriation in the amount of $406,753 for the Tuition Assistance Program. The General Fund appropriation for this program has remained constant at this level since FY 1990-91. During FY 1997-98, $414,987 was paid out in tuition assistance. The program carries over a fund balance from year to year to accommodate years where payments exceed the year's appropriation.
The amended bill provides the Department of Military Affairs with additional flexibility to determine the percentage of tuition assistance it provides to members of the Colorado National Guard based on military specialties that are experiencing shortages. The bill does not require increased funding to the Tuition Assistance Program. Funding for the program remains subject to available appropriations, and would continue to be funded through the Long Appropriations Bill. Therefore, the amended bill is assessed as having no fiscal impact.
Military Affairs Colorado Commission on Higher Education