At the 2010 National Convention, ROA adopted Resolution No. 10-23, “Protect Students Called to Active Duty.” The resolution urges the Congress “to enact legislation protecting the rights of students who are called to active duty from the Active and Reserve Components.”
As the resolution explains, approximately 74,000 (10%) of the Guard and Reserve personnel activated since 9/11 were enrolled at institutions of higher learning at the time of mobilization.
Eleven states have enacted protections for student Guard members and Reservists. In 2007, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) introduced S.1718, the “Veterans’ Education Tuition Support Act of 2007,” to refund tuition and fees for educational programs, provide opportunities for re-enrollment, and defer repayment of loans due to a call to military service. However, Brown’s bill did not progress in the Congress.
Currently, the only federal “protection” student Guard and Reserve personnel have is a section of the Higher Education Relief Opportunities for Students Act of 2001 which expresses the “sense of Congress” that institutions of higher learning should “make every effort to minimize deferral of enrollment or reapplication requirements and should provide the greatest flexibility possible with administrative deadlines related to those applications.” But a “sense of Congress” is not judicially enforceable, and administrators are not obliged to display any flexibility to students.
ROA views protecting the educational rights of student Guard and Reserve personnel as necessary for recruitment, retention, and morale. If you or someone you know has had difficulty with educational administrators with regard to refunds, re-enrollment or reapplication requirements, please share your story with CAPT Marshall Hanson, Legislative Director, or CAPT Sam Wright, Servicemembers Law Center Director.