Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam announced plans on Monday to put another $1 million a year toward tuition support for members of the Virginia National Guard.
Between 400 and 500 members of the Guard apply for tuition assistance each year, Northam’s office said in a statement, and the increase would bring the pot of money to about $4 million, making the assistance accessible to more Guard members.
“We are excited to be able to offer more members of the Virginia National Guard assistance to pursue higher education,” said Acting Secretary of Veterans and Defense Affairs Kathleen Jabs.
Under the proposal, the structure of the program would also change from upfront assistance to after-the-fact reimbursement.
“This is considered a best practice and is expected to increase the overall individual tuition assistance Guard members receive,” Northam’s office said in the statement, adding that it would save the Department of Military Affairs the time and expense of collecting money back from Guard members who don’t finish courses.
Northam made the announcement at the departure ceremony for a Guard battalion from Norfolk heading for the Middle East, his office said. About two weeks ago, more than 1,000 Guard troops from Virginia and Kentucky deployed from Bedford to Africa.