Washington. SERVE Act to help students continue studies after deployment

| 25 Jun 2023 | 03:22

    U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright (D-Pa.), along with U.S. Rep. Mike Ezell (R-Miss.) and U.S. Senators Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) and Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), have introduced bipartisan legislation to ensure that students who serve in the National Guard and Reserve will be guaranteed readmission to their schools following a deployment.

    The bicameral, bipartisan Servicemember Enrollment and Readmission for Valuable Education (SERVE) Act would amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to ensure that students called to serve in domestic, short-term National Guard and Reserve mobilizations are able to return to their studies.

    “No student servicemember should have to sacrifice their future because of a short-term emergency mobilization,” Cartwright said in the press release detailing the legislation.

    Under current law, the readmission requirements for servicemembers only guarantee readmittance to an educational institution if the student is deployed for more than 30 days.

    Under this standard, National Guard and Reserve members mobilized for fewer than 30 days are not universally entitled to be promptly readmitted.

    The SERVE Act would remove the “more than 30 days” stipulation and simply qualify National Guard and Reserve members “on active duty, active-duty training, or National Guard duty under State order or Federal authority.” This change would guarantee a student will be readmitted promptly at the same academic status.

    In 2020 alone, members of the National Guard and Reserve were mobilized to assist law enforcement in 38 states, to support severe weather events in 22 states, and to aid in wildfire suppression in another 19 states.

    Many of those deployments lasted less than 30 days.

    U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright represents Pennsylvania’s 8th Congressional District, which includes Lackawanna, Wayne, and Pike counties and portions of Luzerne and Monroe counties.