Sinema Bill Helping Veterans Access STEM Scholarships Passes U.S. Senate

Jul 31, 2019

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Senate passed Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema’s bipartisan Veteran STEM Scholarship Improvement Act –legislation that expands veterans’ access to a scholarship program supporting studies in the growing fields of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).

“Training Arizona veterans for great jobs will help ensure they are set up for success after their time in the military, and is a small way to show our thanks for their service,” said Sinema, a member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee.

“This proposed legislation lands at the intersection of two independent circumstances that represent both opportunity and a call for action – our economy’s need for STEM graduates and our commitment to veterans who have served our county,” said Arizona State University President, Michael M. Crow.  “ASU is one of many universities that has placed an emphasis on improving STEM education which will be vital to our competitiveness as a national economy in the coming decades and there is no better pool of talent from which to develop those students than in America’s veterans’ community. This bi-partisan proposal to broaden  the ability of veterans  to take full advantage of an existing scholarship opportunity is good public policy and common sense.”

“This bipartisan legislation improves access to STEM degree opportunities for student veterans and provides them with important resources to achieve their educational goals. We thank Senators Sinema, Cornyn, Rubio and Manchin for championing this issue,” said Cody Nicholls, Assistant Dean of Students for Military & Veteran Engagement, University of Arizona.

The Veteran STEM Scholarship Improvement Act—cosponsored by Senators John Cornyn (R-Texas), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.)—makes it easier for veterans to qualify for the Nourse Rogers STEM Scholarship Program. This scholarship offers up to $30,000 in benefits, for what would be a fifth year of study, to students pursuing STEM degrees. Currently, a qualified student veteran must be enrolled in a program that exceeds 128 hours, however Sinema’s bill would lower that requirement to the much more common standard of 120 credit hours. Arizona State University, the University of Arizona and Northern Arizona University all offer 120 hour STEM programs. Empowering veterans in STEM disciplines increases their likelihood of career stability in the new economy as the transition to civilian life.

Sinema has long been a champion for finding bipartisan solutions to assist Arizona’s veterans and their families. Sinema’s bipartisan LEGION Act—which grants veterans who served in non-declared conflicts membership to the American Legion—was recently signed into law. Additionally, Sinema recently championed the bipartisan Jobs and Childcare for Military Families Act, which boosts hiring for military spouses and improves military families’ access to affordable childcare.