ARKANSAS (KSLA) - Arkansas lawmakers are hoping new legislation will help entice recruitment and retention for the National Guard by offering free college tuition.
Arkansas Senate members passed Senate Bill 278 on Monday after it was introduced by Senator Jake Files of Ft. Smith, AR.
"I feel like our numbers will grow," said Arkansas National Guard recruiter, SSG Benjamin Daffern. "This is something that is going to help them better educate themselves to be successful in the community."
Daffern says by not offering free education he feels the National Guard has lost out on quality individuals. He sees Senate Bill 278 as a benefit to the entire state of Arkansas.
"This is something the community has needed for a long time, these are opportunities our kids have not had, and at this point, I feel like it is going to grow our education system and in turn, it is going to open up more job opportunities for these kids to be successful in life."
It now heads to the House Education Committee before the full house of Representatives. If approved, Arkansas National Guard members could have free college tuition by the fall semester.