Branstad says he'll sign bill to help veterans pay for college - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Branstad says he'll sign bill to help veterans pay for college

On Tuesday, Governor Terry Branstad plans to sign into law a bill that would give Iowa National Guard veterans help paying for college.

This bill would add more than one million dollars of state money to the National Guard education assistance program.

"Having this money is actually making it possible for me to go to school," Iowa Army National Guard SPC Olivia McBride said.

The Hawkeye student volunteers for the Boys and Girls Club of Black Hawk County in its afterschool program.

The Iowa Army National Guard member says she loves kids and wants to further her education to become a teacher.

She says getting state money to help pay for her education is vital.

"I wouldn't be going to school without it. I can have an apartment by myself, I drive a car, I have enough money to be able to pursue my dreams," McBride said.

McBride will graduate from Hawkeye Community College this spring and plans to move on to the University of Northern Iowa.

She and other guard members have worried about the financial future of the program in recent months.

Demand has been so heavy, funding started to become scarce.

Governor Branstad will sign a bill to add a million dollars to the program.

"We do have adequate funding in the budget for next fiscal year but this is supplemental funding so we can provide adequate funding for this year, too," Branstad said.

Iowa National Guard spokesman Col. Greg Hapgood says funding the program means more young people will stay in Iowa.

"We've also found, once they get deep roots in Iowa, they stay in Iowa, they work in our communities, pay taxes, are a very positive attribute to Iowa and we think that's of critical importance," Hapgood said,

For McBride, she says the funding means she can enter UNI in the fall, not worried about going into debt.

"I was a little bit panicked last semester thinking about, it might be 500 here, but what's it going to be next year? 1000? And the next year what?" McBride said. "It would've kept climbing so I'm glad I have the security of knowing that it's paid for."

Gov. Branstad says the state can afford the extra spending because of efforts last year to fix the state's finances.

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