NEW JERSEY – Governor Murphy Thursday signed legislation (S-278, S-956, and S-961) which supports New Jersey veterans and servicemembers and grants them easier access to higher education, expands access to the disabled veterans’ property tax exemption, and establishes an annual grant program within the Troops to College Program to recognize institutions of higher education that offer extensive veteran programs and services.
“Our veterans and servicemembers have put their lives on the line for their state and for their country,” Murphy said. “The least we can do for them is to make their lives easier by expanding access to higher education, broadening eligibility for the disabled veterans’ property tax exemption, and encouraging higher education institutions to provide needed services. This legislation will doubtlessly help our veterans and servicemembers in their civilian lives and recognize their service properly.”
“This trio of bills signed by the Governor affirms New Jersey’s commitment to our Veterans,” said Brigadier General Lisa J. Hou, D.O., The Adjutant General and Commissioner of the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. “One bill will provide grants to institutions of higher education that assist veterans with programs and services. Tenant shareholders in cooperatives and mutual housing corporations can finally use the property tax exemption that homeowners have used for years. Uniformed service members attending public colleges now have additional rights, such as extended registration time each semester, so they can continue their education while fulfilling their military obligations.”
Primary sponsors for S-278 include Senators Tom Kean, Jr. and Sandra Cunningham, and Assemblymembers Sterley Stanley, Wayne DeAngelo, and Joseph Danielsen.
- S-278 broadens the scope of existing law to benefit a wider military community that includes servicemembers who are unable to complete a course due to deployment, mobilization, reassignment, or other military obligation. The bill directs each public institution of higher education to establish policies and procedures to refund course tuition and fees and permit the late registration of students who are veterans or servicemembers affected by deployment, mobilization, reassignment, or other military obligation. Under the bill, the institution cannot charge a late fee or similar penalty on a registration submitted pursuant to the bill’s provisions.
Primary sponsors for S-956 include Senators Christopher Connors and Brian Stack, and Assemblymembers DiAnne Gove, Brian Rumpf, John Armato, and Vincent Mazzeo.
- S-956 exempts from property taxes totally and permanently disabled veterans and their surviving spouses who occupy a unit in a cooperative or mutual housing corporation in which they are tenant shareholders. The bill requires the Division of Taxation to promulgate the necessary implementing regulations which will include provisions that would require cooperatives and mutual housing corporations to pass the full amount of the property tax exemption on to the tenant shareholder who qualified for the benefit.
Primary sponsors for S-961 include Senators Troy Singleton and Nilsa Cruz-Perez, and Assemblymembers John Armato, Andrew Zwicker, and Anthony Verrelli.
- S-961 creates an annual grant program within the Troops to College Program. The grant program will be developed by the Secretary of Higher Education in consultation with the Department of Military and Veterans’ Affairs. The Secretary will annually select up to three institutions of higher education, public or private, to receive a $150,000 Troops to College Grant. In order to receive a grant, an institution must demonstrate that it is offering a comprehensive array of services, benefits, and programs to veterans attending the institution.