Press Release

Military Families to Congress: We Need Education Savings Accounts

May 01, 2019

Washington—Today, Heritage Action sent a letter to Chairman Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), Chairman Adam Smith (D-Wash.), Ranking Member Jack Reed (D-R.I.), and Ranking Member Mac Thornberry (R-Tex.) on behalf of over 3,000 military-connected families in support of the Education Savings Accounts for Military Families Act of 2019 (S. 695 and H.R. 1605).

Military personnel are regularly uprooted and called to relocate their whole lives while serving their country. For military families with children, this creates unique challenges, especially as it relates to their children’s educational needs and their ability to remain in the armed services Military families know the joys, responsibilities, and challenges that come with military service.

According to a survey conducted by Military Times, 35 percent of active duty military families say that dissatisfaction with their children's education was a significant factor in their decision to remain or leave military service. Education savings accounts would provide military families with the flexibility to find the solutions that work best for them while incentivizing service men and women to remain in the armed forces.

Heritage Action released the following statement from Executive Director Tim Chapman:

Our nation’s men and women in uniform already sacrifice so much in service to their country. One thing our military families should not be forced to sacrifice is the quality of their children’s education. As a nation, we owe it to our servicemen and women to provide them with the means to obtain quality education that meets their needs. Heritage Action calls on Congress to provide for the nation’s military families and include the Education Savings Accounts for Military Families Act in this year’s NDAA.

Senator Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), an original cosponsor of the bill in the Senate and U.S. military veteran stated:

Children of military families often have limited access to high-quality education because of their unique living situations, a reality that drives some families from military service altogether. Our legislation would give many military families the flexibility to tailor their child’s education to their own needs and circumstances, so they don’t have to choose between serving their country and educating their children.

Representative Jim Banks (R-Ind.), who introduced the bill in the House and is also a military veteran, added:

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.

The military families wrote, in part:

Military families already sacrifice so much on the battlefield, but far too often Washington fails them off the battlefield. Men and women in the armed forces have earned the right to send their children to whatever school or educational service provider they believe will benefit their family.
Every year Congress considers the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) which sets the policies and authorizes the budgets for the U.S. Department of Defense. As you consider adding new policies in this year’s NDAA, please consider including Rep. Banks’ Education Savings Accounts for Military Families Act of 2018 to help strengthen the military and better serve military families.

Read the full letter to Congress here.

Related:

The Education Savings Accounts for Military Families Act of 2019: Question & Answer
Facebook Live Event: Lindsey Burke on Military ESAs
Heritage Action: Key Vote: Education Savings Accounts for Military Families Act of 2019 (S. 695)