House Representative

Turner, Chris

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 03/12/2013

TURNER & VAN DE PUTTE FILE LEGISLATION TO ADDRESS HAZLEWOOD FUNDING

AUSTIN − State Representative Chris Turner (HD 101 - Grand Prairie) and state Senator Leticia Van de Putte (SD 26 - San Antonio) have filed identical measures aimed at addressing concerns raised by some Texas universities regarding the expense of Hazlewood, the state's veteran higher education financial aid program. The legislation would allow schools to use "B-On-Time" funds that are not utilized at the institution at which they are collected to offset that school's Hazlewood and Hazlewood Legacy tuition exemption programs.

"Hazlewood represents a solemn promise from the state of Texas to our veterans and their families and our legislation is aimed at keeping that promise," Turner said. "By allowing our state's colleges and universities to utilize unused B-On-Time funds that are currently being transferred back to the state to instead offset Hazlewood costs, we will strengthen our veterans benefits and help our colleges and universities."

“The first and foremost consideration is that we help the 1% who defend our freedoms and have earned their Hazlewood benefits,” Senator Van de Putte said. “It makes sense to give schools the flexibility to utilize monies already appropriated for their campuses before looking at additional state dollars. This bill will help our universities do the right thing for our veterans and their families.”

HB 3265 (Turner) and SB 1543 (Van de Putte) would permit state institutions to retain unused tuition funds designated for the "B-On-Time" loan program. The unused funds will be used to cover the cost of Hazlewood and Hazlewood Legacy exemptions, as well as other financial aid programs at that university. These measures would ensure that leftover funds stay with the institution at which they were collected, rather than be sent to other institutions, as is the current practice.