AUSTIN (KXAN) - Texas universities spoke out this week at the state capitol claiming they can't afford to give military veterans a free education.
Right now, under the Hazlewood Act, universities provide qualified veterans, spouses and their children with 150 credit hours.
"This is not only saying thank you to the veterans, but to the families who allowed their mom or dad to leave on multiple deployments, " Paul Theobald said.
The University of Texas said they spent $9 million on Hazlewood students in 2010 and by 2012 that cost was up to $15 million.
Texas Tech spent $1.8 million in 2008 and $9.3 last year.
These schools and several others including Texas A&M and Texas State voiced their concerns and asked the Veteran Affairs and Military Installation Committee for the state to fully fund the Hazlewood Act.
Committee members, led by Sen. Leticia Van De Putte, were open to suggestions by the schools.
Suggestions included changing the requirements to qualify for Hazlewood and enforcing a policy that would have students apply for federal and state assistance first, before applying for Hazlewood.
Navy veteran Paul Theobald served on a submarine for five years and is using the Hazlewood Act for law school. He understands the schools are facing hard times.
"There should be a certain level of standard that you have to meet to keep getting that benefit, " Theobald said.
But just like other schools, students struggle to stay in the classroom and Theobald said veterans shouldn't be the target.
The Texas Veterans Commission said the Hazlewood Act cost Texas schools nearly $80 million in 2011 but the GI Bill brought in $1.2 billion to the Texas education fund in 2012.
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