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Ryan introduces bill to boost college affordability for Guard, Reserves

The legislation has bipartisan support.
Tim Ryan 03102020
U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan is part of a bipartisan effort to improve college affordability for National Guard and Reserve personnel. (Image captured from C-SPAN video)

WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan of Howland, D-13th, has joined a bipartisan effort to introduce the Improving College Affordability for Our Guard and Reserve Act.

This legislation would provide more educational opportunities for National Guardsmen and Reserve personnel by allowing them to claim independent student status when applying for federal student aid, according to a news release. 

“Our National Guard and Reserve answer the call of duty time and time again to protect and serve the American people, including most recently to combat the COVID-19 pandemic,“ Ryan said in the release. “We are forever indebted to their commitment and sacrifice.

"I am proud to introduce this legislation to ensure our Guardsmen and Reservists are provided the student aid they so deeply deserve.” 

Joining Ryan in sponsoring the legislation are U.S. Reps. Guy Reschenthaler, R-Pa., G.T. Thompson, R-Pa., David Trone, D-Md., and Anthony Brown, D-Md.

The bill would allow National Guardsmen and Reserve personnel under age 25 to claim independent student status when applying for federal student aid.

Under current law, only active duty service members, veterans and other individuals with limited circumstances can claim independent student status, which prevents parental income from being used to determine aid amounts when completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. 

According to the Defense Manpower Data Center, as of January, there were approximately 211,000 members of the National Guard and Reserve components under age 25 that did not qualify as a veteran or meet active duty criteria.