Texas House mulls cutting popular veteran education benefits

By EVA RUTH MORAVEC
Associated Press

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - The Texas House is to discuss slashing a free college tuition program for veterans and their children amid conservatives' calls that its costs are too high to be sustainable.

Republican Sen. Brian Birdwell's proposal hits the floor Friday after already clearing the Senate.

Only veterans with six years of active duty who have lived in Texas for eight years and their children would be eligible for the so-called Hazlewood Exemption under Birdwell's bill.

It also cuts the number of free tuition hours available while requiring veterans to use them within 15 years of their military service ending.

Hazlewood's cost to Texas public universities has climbed from $24.7 million in fiscal year 2010 to $169 million last fiscal year.

Veterans' organizations argue that the cuts go too far.

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