Free Tuition for Veterans Costing Texas Schools Millions - KXXV-TV News Channel 25 - Central Texas News and Weather for Waco, Temple, Killeen |

Free Tuition for Veterans Costing Texas Schools Millions

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KILLEEN -

Public-funded Texas institutions are at a crossroads on how to handle the expenses from the unfunded mandate Hazelwood Act.

The Hazelwood Act allows for Veterans to attend school for free up to 150 credit hours. If the veteran does not use those credits, their children are allowed to use it.

Veteran enrollment in Texas institutions have increased within the five years. The Hazelwood Act benefit is costing Texas institutions more than $10 billion dollars statewide.

Just within the last year, Central Texas College has seen an enrollment increase of 30%. Central Texas College Chancellor Dr. Thomas Klincar spoke to News Channel 25's Markeya Thomas about how the school is handling the cost of this benefit.

"Our sources of funding are three forms: State appropriations, which are dwindling, tax dollars, and students who pay for their own tuition," explains Dr. Klincar. "If state appropriations are dwindling, that leaves local tax dollars: you and me, and students who pay full tuition."

This leaves for local money and local tuition to cover the tuition for these veterans. While Central Texas College is hopeful that they will not have to raise taxes, there are other institutions that may have to resort to this.

Both the University of North Texas and the University of Texas at Arlington have paid more than $7 million dollars to cover the cost of this benefit.

Texas institutions hope that the budget for schools will be increased once again, after the $1 billion dollar budget cut two years ago.

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