Cornyn highlights expanded scholarship for veterans pursuing STEM degrees

State & Regional

AUSTIN (Nexstar) — Veterans pursuing degrees in science, technology, engineering and math could soon see additional funding after legislation by U.S. Sen. John Cornyn was approved by Washington lawmakers this month.

Cornyn spoke with student veterans during a roundtable discussion at the University of Texas at Austin on Tuesday to highlight the expansion of the scholarship, which was first established in 2017. The updates to the program broadens GI benefits for veterans in STEM fields, according to Cornyn’s office.

President Donald Trump signed the Veteran STEM Scholarship Improvement Act into law on August 2. It updates the Nourse STEM Scholarship.

“What we wanted to do was emphasize here, particularly in Austin, where we have companies like Dell that are looking for talent,” Cornyn said. “Veterans are a great investment. The sorts of skills and the life experiences that they have — the discipline, focus and maturity that they bring to their education is something that is remarkable.”

A media release ahead of Cornyn’s Austin visit on Tuesday indicated the Nourse STEM Scholarship provides an additional nine months or $30,000 of GI Bill eligibility to student veterans pursuing a STEM degree.

“Being able to apply for and actually receive this extension is actually allowing one of our veterans currently to finish their degree and graduate,” Rebecca Larson, president of Student Veterans of America at UT Austin, said.

According to Cornyn’s office, current law mandates that eligible STEM programs exceed 128 required credit hours; however, the average STEM degree program in Texas requires less than 128 credit hours. A Cornyn aide signaled this bill would reduce that requirement in the Nourse STEM Scholarship to reflect that STEM programs should exceed 120 required credit hours so that more veterans are able to take advantage of the scholarship in Texas.

Cornyn was joined Tuesday by UT Austin President Greg Fenves, the university’s director of veterans services and hiring representatives from NASA and Dell. Student veterans also participated in the round-table discussion about varying experiences transitioning from the military back to school.

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