To accompany Pennsylvania House Bill 131, legislation that would allow all veterans to qualify for in-state tuition rates no matter their state of residence, Temple should make room for a veteran center on Main Campus.
If the bill is passed, Temple would join the 17 other Pennsylvania state-related institutions that offer in- and out-of-state tuition rates that would exempt veterans from paying full tuition rates. Veterans seeking higher education would be able to choose an institution suited specifically for their career aspirations, not just their price range.
State Rep. Stephen Barrar, who currently stands as the primary sponsor for the bill, told The Temple News, “When a veteran goes off and fights for the country, he’s not serving just New Jersey or Pennsylvania, he’s serving the country.”
What Temple lacks, however, is a space dedicated to these veterans that the university hopes to attract. The majority of universities have such a space, but according to adviser for the Temple Veterans Student Association Debbie Campbell, no space has been allowed, still, a year and a half after it was requested.
If HB131 is passed, the university should expect an influx of veterans. To prepare, Temple should open a space for veterans to have open communication with the university and with each other.
The current lack of space will continue to perpetuate problems that veteran-students have faced in the past, like not knowing what types of exemptions and benefits they are eligible for.
A staff to run this center is also necessary for its success, as the current group serving the student-veteran population is made up mostly of volunteers.
A state bill to gain rights for veterans is the first step in attracting more students to the university, but in order to follow through on this change, Main Campus needs a space dedicated to those who have formerly served in the armed forces and want to continue their higher education.