3248L.01I                                                                                                                                                  D. ADAM CRUMBLISS, Chief Clerk



To repeal section 173.900, RSMo, and to enact in lieu thereof two new sections relating to higher education.

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the state of Missouri, as follows:

            Section A. Section 173.900, RSMo, is repealed and two new sections enacted in lieu thereof, to be known as sections 173.900 and 173.1160, to read as follows:

            173.900. 1. This act shall be known and may be cited as the "Missouri Returning Heroes' Education Act".

            2. For the purpose of this section, the term "combat veteran" shall mean a person who served in armed combat in the military [after September 11, 2001,] and to whom the following criteria shall apply:

            (1) The veteran was a Missouri resident when first entering the military or meets the university's requirements for Missouri residency; and

            (2) The veteran was discharged from military service under honorable conditions.

            3. All public institutions of higher education that receive any state funds appropriated by the general assembly shall limit the amount of tuition such institutions charge to combat veterans to fifty dollars per credit hour, as long as the veteran achieves and maintains a cumulative grade point average of at least two and one-half on a four-point scale, or its equivalent. The tuition limitation shall only be applicable if the combat veteran is enrolled in a program leading to a certificate, or an associate or baccalaureate degree. The period during which a combat veteran is eligible for a tuition limitation under this section shall expire at the end of the ten-year period beginning on the date of such veteran's last discharge from service.

            4. The coordinating board for higher education shall ensure that all applicable institutions of higher education in this state comply with the provisions of this section and may promulgate rules for the efficient implementation of this section.

            5. If a combat veteran is eligible to receive financial assistance under any other federal or state student aid program, public or private, the full amount of such aid shall be reported to the board by the institution and the veteran. The tuition limitation under this section shall be provided after all other federal and state aid for which the veteran is eligible has been applied, and no combat veteran shall receive more than the actual cost of attendance when the limitation is combined with other aid made available to such veteran.

            6. Each institution may report to the board the amount of tuition waived in the previous fiscal year under the provisions of this act. This information may be included in each institution's request for appropriations to the board for the following year. The board may include this information in its appropriations recommendations to the governor and the general assembly. The general assembly may reimburse institutions for the cost of the waiver for the previous year as part of the operating budget. Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to deny a combat veteran a tuition limitation if the general assembly does not appropriate money for reimbursement to an institution.

            7. Any rule or portion of a rule, as that term is defined in section 536.010, RSMo, that is created under the authority delegated in this section shall become effective only if it complies with and is subject to all of the provisions of chapter 536, RSMo, and, if applicable, section 536.028, RSMo. This section and chapter 536, RSMo, are nonseverable and if any of the powers vested with the general assembly pursuant to chapter 536, RSMo, to review, to delay the effective date, or to disapprove and annul a rule are subsequently held unconstitutional, then the grant of rulemaking authority and any rule proposed or adopted after August 28, 2008, shall be invalid and void.

            173.1160. Students who have completed a secondary school education in a home school setting that is treated as a home school or private school under state law shall receive the same consideration as nonhome-schooled students for purposes of financial aid, and no rule or prerequisite for such aid shall be conditioned so as to disadvantage home-schooled students.