Washington—Today, Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.) and Senators Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), Tim Scott (R-S.C.), and Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) introduced the Education Savings Accounts for Military Families Act. This legislation would provide active duty military families federally funded Education Savings Accounts (ESAs) that they could use to pay for whatever educational service works best for them. Similarly to how veterans receive federal funding through the G.I. bill to attend any college he or she chooses, this legislation provides federal funding directly to military parents and children to attend any school or education service provider they choose.
Heritage Action released the following statement from Executive Director Tim Chapman:
Americans should applaud Rep. Banks and Senators Sasse, Scott, and Cotton for introducing the Education Savings Accounts for Military Families Act. Providing school choice to our men and women in uniform who selflessly sacrifice and serve our country everyday is a no brainer. This bill would bolster our national security and enhance military readiness by providing an attractive resource to both recruit and retain servicemen and women.
35 percent of Military Times readers said dissatisfaction with their children’s education was a “significant factor” in their decision to leave or remain in the military. According to another recent survey, military respondents were almost five times more likely to support ESAs than they were to oppose them.
Congressman Banks explained:
Ensuring the security of the nation is the most important job of the federal government. Unfortunately, the lack of education options for military families is making it increasingly difficult to recruit the best and brightest into the armed forces. With 35 percent of military families having considered leaving the armed forces due to concern over their children’s education, the Education Savings Accounts for Military Families Act tackles this problem head-on by creating education savings accounts that can be used to fund tuition, textbooks, and online courses. This will ensure that every military family can access quality education options and not have to worry that a reassignment could jeopardize their children’s future. The children of our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines, have sacrificed mightily for our country and have earned the right to be afforded robust educational opportunities from a grateful nation.
Senator Cotton stated:
Right now, children of military families have limited access to high-quality education because of their unique living situations. This bill encourages service families to save for education and gives them the flexibility to spend those savings so their children’s education can be tailored to their own needs and circumstances.
Senator Scott added:
The most essential part of a service member’s support system is their family. Military families provide a firm foundation for their loved ones who sacrifice daily to preserve and protect our nation. It is imperative that we do everything we can to ensure that the children of our service members are taken care of and have the opportunities to receive a quality education. As a kid who lived on an Air Force base, I know how important it is for parents to have options for their children's education. I am proud to once again introduce the Military Education Savings Act alongside my friends Senators Ben Sasse and Tom Cotton, to help military children reach their fullest potential.
Senator Sasse concluded:
America fights to win. That takes top-notch talent. Recruitment and retainment are a real component to national security. If we’re going to face down global threats with the best and brightest, we need to make it easy for those moms and dads to take care of their families. Sadly, making the decision to defend our freedom sometimes means that servicemembers’ kids miss out on the best education options available. That’s unacceptable. Our bill helps fix this by letting military families customize their kids’ education, and by empowering them to find the opportunities that best fit their needs. Members of our armed services deserve the best we’ve got, and so do their kids.
In order to ensure those who serve in the military and protect the U.S. are able to access education options that serve their families in the best way possible, federal policymakers should work to empower children of military families with education choice.
Heritage Action supports this legislation, encourages Representatives and Senators to support it and sign on as a co-sponsor. Heritage Action will include the co-sponsorship in our legislative scorecard.