EBENSBURG, Pa. (WTAJ) — A bill that would guarantee military families in Pennsylvania receive in-state tuition at public colleges or universities, even if a parent is deployed or reassigned out-of-state, has passed a key vote toward becoming law.

The Pennsylvania House Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee voted unanimously to approve Rep. Frank Burns’ (D-Cambria) bill, according to a press release. The approval has sent it to the House of Representatives for future consideration.

The bill would ensure military families are guaranteed the in-state tuition rate as soon as a student enrolls or registers at a community college or submits an enrollment deposit to a four-year public college or university, even if their military parent is later reassigned to another state.

Under current Pennsylvania law, the U.S. Department of Defense found some students lost that in-state rate due to a parent’s reassignment outside of Pennsylvania between the day the student was accepted to the college or university and the first day of the semester, the release said.

“Today, we took an important step in making sure our military families have access to in-state tuition,” Burns said. “Parents can’t control when or where they’re called upon to serve our nation, and their children shouldn’t be penalized for that service. My bill will make sure they never are.”

Last year, it’s reported that similar legislation by Burns made it all the way to the state Senate before the session ended, leaving the legislation one vote shy of becoming law. Today’s vote is a key first step and an early indication that the bill could make it to the finish line this year.

“I was dumbfounded when the Senate failed to bring this bill up for a vote last year, but I’m going to fight to get it across the finish line this session,” Burns said. “These students shouldn’t be penalized because of their mother’s or father’s reassignment, which is beyond their control. Veterans and their families count on us to ensure they get the benefits they deserve.”

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