Atlantic County Executive Dennis Levinson has proposed free college tuition for surviving family members of fallen veterans.
Levinson is calling for the implementation of free college tuition at New Jersey’s 11 public higher education institutions and community colleges for qualified surviving children and spouses of those who die in active duty.
The U.S. Veterans Administration offers a number of benefits and programs for survivors, but free college tuition is not one of them, Levinson said in a press release. Other than private scholarships, he is aware of only the War Orphans Tuition Assistance program that provides $500 per year for four years of college or equivalent training, he said.
“If colleges and universities can offer full paid tuition for athletes and video gamers, shouldn’t we be doing the same for the children of those who died to protect each of us and our family members?” Levinson said. “I am reminded of President Abraham Lincoln’s second inaugural address during which he affirmed the government’s obligation to our soldiers and their families. ‘To care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow, and his orphan.’”
Offering free college tuition for everyone is not achievable, Levinson said, “But this initiative is something that could, and should, be done. The cost would be minimal while the benefit to the families of the fallen would be great.”
The county executive has shared his proposal with the Atlantic County Board of Freeholders and Dr. Barbara Gaba, President of Atlantic Cape Community College, for their consideration and support.